|A Big Name - and Even Bigger Portions!|
Jackie Lee tackles man food at The Admiral Codrington
British pubs have some of the most ridiculous names I've ever heard. When my brother and I were younger we used to play a game where we'd count the number of legs we saw on pub signs as we went on family drives into the country.
'The Fox & Hound'? Eight points. 'The Duke of Wellington'? Two points. One of my favourites was 'The Queen's Hand' - how many legs did that have? Did you count the Queen's legs or was she just a disembodied hand? Either way, pub names are fast, furious and generally pretty silly.
So then The Admiral Codrington. It may sound equally silly but in fact Admiral Sir Edward Codrington was a British Admiral who fought in the Battle of Trafalgar and is a much-loved figure of British history; a big name to live up to then, for this Chelsea public house.
Luckily for his legacy, they are really rather decent, not so much that I would trek out there regularly but were I in the area - or a local - I'd definitely pop in for a spot of dinner and have an enjoyable meal.
Tucked away down the back of the Fulham Road, The Admiral Codrington is located on the corner of Mossop Street & Leverett Street. The initial pub section is, well, typically pub-like, but the dining area is positively beautiful, flooded with natural light from the skylight above.
Whenever I enter brightly lit dining areas the photographer inside me breathes a sigh of relief and looks forward to taking photos of food that I'll actually be able to see through my viewfinder. Light is a very beautiful thing.
Special mention must also go to their toilets which are decorated with the most bizarrely wonderful Victorian accessories I've ever seen in a loo.
The wooden tables and cloth-covered booth style seats are casual and simple, with an elegance that many pubs do not possess. The modern dining room has the kitchen set just behind it with a serving hatch at the side of the room, no more than a few feet from your table. Despite the fact that we were so close to the kitchen we actually couldn't even hear (or see) the chefs, nor was there any unsightly strip lighting in place - a huge bonus in their favour.
We started off our dinner with some pork crackling served with warm apple sauce - the crackling was perhaps a little on the tough side (my companion, the food-loving Northern Girl, or NG, actually had to stop eating it for fear of losing her teeth) but the apple sauce! What absolute heaven in a ramekin. Warm, sweet and sour all at once - I could've poured it into my mouth by itself and been happy.
Our starters, creamy burrata (a favourite of mine) with heirloom tomatoes and pesto and NG's pate de foie gras with brioche and onion chutney, were decent but the portions sizes huge.
The same was true of our mains, in-house aged Jack O'Shea rib-eye steak for NG and confit duck for me, with sides of spinach sauteed with garlic and hand-cut chips. It was all perhaps a touch too salty for our tastes and the portions were so huge that I couldn't help but feel that this was real man food - man pub food. Nothing at all wrong with that - had I been hungrier I would've eaten the entire thing - but on this evening I was sorely defeated. We both ended up having to leave at least a quarter of our food, tasty thought it was.
These giant portions did not deter us from trying dessert - for the sake of the review, you understand - mine the triple-chocolate brownie with milk ice-cream and NG's the sticky toffee pudding. The sticky toffee pudding was the real winner here - thick, stodgy and served with a healthy dose of single cream in a milk jug. The brownie was good but a little too sweet for my taste, the milk ice-cream on the other hand absolutely divine.
Throughout the evening the pub's restaurant gradually filled up with a girl's night out, a couple, a party of four, and so on and so forth, so that by the time we left a good hour and a half later it was positively heaving. This would be a great location for a girl's - or boy's - night out.
Service was pleasant and courteous, mostly young pretty Southern Hemisphere boys and girls, and the maitre d' was extremely attentive to all of the tables, not just ours.
Let's be honest here, this is pub food and it's not going to win any awards, but as far as pub food goes it's good, solid, hearty fare at a decent price (roughly £25/person for three courses, excluding alcohol, and you could easily share each dish between two people).
No, it's not Michelin-quality but then that wasn't what I was looking for and God-forbid this be what they aspire to. The Admiral Codrington know what they can do and do it well - surely this is the mark of a good restaurant? It's certainly the main reason I'd return.
September 1, 2011