Finding a place for a quiet drink after work was proving to be a bit more difficult than I had imagined – the issue was the friendly between England and Egypt which meant that any pub with a screen would be packed with punters eagerly awaiting the first of England’s efforts as we move towards the summer World Cup. This meant that I had to find a place off the beaten path, without a television and with easy transport access. Where else to look than Notting Hill in West London?
After a few false starts (both of the original pub choices had TV screens and, in an indication of how noisy it would be, numerous England flags already hung in anticipation of the match) we decided on the gastropub/wine bar The Mall Tavern which, while only a few metres from the Notting Hill Gate tube station, felt quite removed from the busy high street.
As far as a gastopub goes, The Mall Tavern was much what you’d expect, comfortable tables, dimly lit, nice wine – my friend was at first impressed at their range of imported beers on tap, then less so when it turned out they were out of nearly all of them. It would have been a fairly average pub-going experience had it not been for one thing: the free scotch eggs and pork pies.
For whatever, reason, the kitchen decided that this was the day they would provide all punters with some of these traditional British delicacies. Having never had either a pork pie or a scotch egg before, this was an opportunity to expand my British horizons. A scotch egg is a rather hideous creation of a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage, wrapped in bread crumbs. With an off the charts calorie, fat and salt count, it’s probably not something you’d want to eat more than once a year but having heard so much about them, I figured I might as well give them a try (that and my friend was in shock I’d never had one before).
While I can’t say I’ll be ordering a scotch egg again any time soon (for health reasons much moreso than taste) nor was it, according to my friend, the best example of a scotch egg that Britain might provide, I will certainly be returning to The Mall Tavern. It’s quiet, friendly, provides decent drinks and, best of all, bribed us to return with free food. Works for me!
The Mall Tavern
71 Palace Gardens Terrace
London W8 4RU
020 7727 3805