The Tavern has definitely become a destination eatery, sandwiched, as the man giving directions said, between the taxi office and the chip shop in Royal Well Lane. Formerly The Royal Well Tavern pub, the Tavern sits quietly in a small street curving between the Royal Well and St. Georges Place.
Sam & Georgie Pearman bought the building, formerly a pub, in 2008 and opened The Royal Well. They then refurbed it and changed it to The Tavern in 2012 applying their magic while retaining the comforting proportions of a traditional pub. It is a place filled with quirky shabby-chic, vintage objects and furniture. Customers have a choice of sitting on old school chairs, plush purple velvet upholstered benches and even old tractor seats.
We never tire of looking for good places to eat before going to a theatre show, so we wanted to try The Tavern on the recommendation of a colleague. It serves food from 12 noon. During the week last orders are at 9.30pm and at 12 midnight at weekends.
Later in the evenings The Tavern gets rather busy with the twenty or thirty-somethings so we decided on lunch. We were expertly looked after by Luke who was in charge of the restaurant.
The menu is extensive – from bites to salads, sliders, burgers with a choice of cheeses, plates, prime cuts and always a Special of the Day as well mouth-watering desserts and cheeses. One can eat a great burger or go for a three-course meal – basically, one can eat as much or a little one likes. We decided on mixing it up a bit.
Over a glass of excellent Spanish Tempranillo (the red house wine) and Jazzy music which reminded me of New Orleans, we picked our starters of delicately spiced Chickpea Chips with chilli jam, crisp and juicy Asparagus with Parma ham, topped with a poached egg. To follow my lunch companion settled on the Blackened Salmon with noodles coated in finely chopped vegetables, I opted for half a nicely Roast Chicken which came with Panzanella (chunks of bread fried in olive oil with a mix of tomatoes and cucumber and herbs) heaped over the chicken, just the way you find it in rural Italy. The salmon as well as the chicken dish were on the large side which I found hard to manage but I’m sure it will be more than welcome by most. We had also ordered the Super Salad made with thinly shaved vegetables and radishes, dressed with lemon and olive oil.
On the menu there were seasonal cheeses from Neal’s Yard Dairy, but we decided on a dessert instead. I took the blueberry and almond tart, nice and moist, topped with ice cream, my companion took the excellent cheese cake on Luke’s recommendation. This was truly delicious with a slight tang of sour cream and a chunky texture and caramelized crushed macadamia nut topping. No one should forgo this treat at The Tavern.
There is an equally large choice of drinks – Spring Cocktails, Classics, Non-Boozy Cocktails, white, pink and red wines, Prosecco Spumante as well as over a dozen different beers, as well as Port Wines.
On the first floor there is a generous space with a choice of more beautiful, eccentric tables and tractor seats. And at the bar customers can eat tapas-style, seated on a row of specially created metal bar chairs which one would expect to find in a modern art gallery.
We loved the shabby-chic style and very original feel of The Tavern. It almost feels like trendy Islington.
It is obvious that everything in The Tavern has been thoughtfully and lovingly selected to create a truly warm, original place for its customers.
And if you love it as much as we did, you can even buy a Tavern T-shirt. Astrid Burchardt June 2014
UPDATE – 21st April 2016
The Tavern is now staying open late on Fridays and Saturdays. Click here for details.