Forover 150 years, The Mall Tavern has been a mainstay of The Notting Hill community. It has changed hands numerous times and been through many incarnations, and in 2010 it was taken over by the current management team who have bought the venue completely up to date. The current Mall Tavern is a gastropub that takes great pride in its menu with old favourites sitting comfortably alongside more experimental and innovative dishes.
The pub is divided in half with a very busy bar area in one part with the other being reserved for diners. The atmosphere releasable and fun, the after-work crowd enjoying a drink gives the place a buzz that carries into the relaxed dining area. The man behind the menu is highly-rated chef Jesse Dunford-Wood and his reputation is, judging by our visit, thoroughly earned.
Our meal started of with fresh, warm soda bread which was quickly followed by our starters. The pork pie is described on the menu as ‘remarkable’ and they’re not wrong. Chunky, meaty pork encased in crumbly pastry, a great version of a traditional classic. The fried Brie with cranberry sauce was even better, gooey molten cheese encased in breadcrumbs that tasted like heaven itself. It’s probably not considered a health food (I don’t want to know how many calories are in it), but my God, it’s gooood.
Having set the bar high with starters of exceptional quality, the mains had a lot to live up to, but did just that. The presentation of the dishes is exquisite in every case. The roast Goosnargh chicken was served with rainbow chard, peas and girolles, providing a multi-coloured background to the juicy, flavourful poultry. The salt beef brisket is served alongside potato dauphinoise and green beans in a rich onion and mustard sauce. Reminiscent of the classic salt beef of Brick Lane, the dish is a very posh version of the street food staple.
To wrap up the meal, we ordered the cheese board to share, a generously-sized portion of three types of cheese plus a wide variety or crackers and flatbreads. The service was attentive and good humoured, with friendly, efficient staff. The meal was also relatively good value for money, with meals of this quality costing significantly more elsewhere. A real treat for the locals of Notting Hill, and worth the trip for the rest of us.
71-73 Palace Gardens Terrace, W8