I started March pretty well, in terms of competition wins. On the first of the month, a Tweet popped up from The Punchbowl in Mayfair, telling me I’d won dinner for four. EPIC. As my parents were due a visit, I thought it’d be the perfect chance for me to treat them for a change (as usually, it’s definitely the other way round. The student in me lives on).
Although the dining area wasn’t open, it being a quiet Sunday night meant that our dining experience was pretty chilled out rather than a noisy pub atmosphere. Starting the evening off right with a Hendricks and tonic (“what’s a Hendricks?” – clearly my Dad needs some gin education), we sat down to appreciate our cosy booth at the back of the pub. The whole decor is lovely – with a bit of a nautical theme including pictures of ships and porthole windows in the bathrooms. The staff were very warm and attentive, and brought over a complimentary bottle of Pinot Grigio. Which, uh, I think I drank most of. Whoops!
Although The Punchbowl is a pub, their food is certainly a tad fancier than the usual pub grub fayre . A few of the menu options were unfortunately out of stock after a busy Sunday but we all managed to pick a starter option that tickled our fancy – and I chose the Cider Braised Linconlshire Rabbit, Baby Leek and Hock Terrine. And it was brilliant. I’ve never had rabbit before, and if it’s anything this good, I’ll definitely be choosing it again. With a light but still plenty meaty taste, it was complemented perfectly by the Celeriac and Apple Slaw. This, pubs of London, is how you do a starter.
For my main, I went classic and had a juicy slab o’ steak with triple cooked chips and a bearnaise sauce. I loved the steak and it was cooked brilliantly – but the chips just outshone EVERYTHING, for reals. So crispy on the outside and soft, fluffy and wonderful on the inside. And absolutely perfect for dipping in the bearnaise sauce. Yuuum. My parents both had some roast lamb, which looked lovely – and I’m pleased to report that they definitely very much enjoyed their Punchbowl Sunday roasts.
For dessert, we pored over the menu eventually deciding on a few different puddings. Mum went for the Lemon Posset – which was SUPER Instagrammable – and Conor chose the Sticky Toffee Pudding. For me and Dad? It was the Baileys Cheesecake and Raspberry Sorbet.
The Baileys Cheesecake itself was a bit of a surprise when it arrived at my table. Rather than having cheese atop a biscuit base, it was actually a ‘deconstructed’ cheesecake with the biscuit to one side with the raspberry sorbet. Although it was an enjoyable taste, I felt like the consistency was quite thick and heavy and would have worked better with an actual biscuit base. The biscuit itself tasted fantastic, and I felt like there could have been a bit more on the plate to go with the cheesecake topping. I did REALLY enjoy the raspberry sorbet though – perfectly tangy and fruity.
The Punchbowl is probably a little bit out of my usual price range – but for a special treat on a busy weekend (or if your parents are paying?), it offers the perfect mix of cosy pub atmosphere and fantastic food. If you want to be served great dishes but don’t fancy dressing up and heading to a posh city restaurant, this tucked-away gem is the perfect place to relax after a busy day exploring London.