So we intended to do a review of the newly-opened Lion & Unicorn today, but, to be honest, we’re not sure, and haven’t sampled the food or theatre yet, so rather than dismiss it we’ll let it bed in a bit.
It’s not that we don’t like the joint: the walled garden, the rather self-consciously eclectic dining room, the lights – these are all quite pleasant. But there’s something overwhelmingly suburban in the decor, and this is amplified by the staff’s gaudy orange and purple uniforms. “Let’s face it, no beautiful old pub deserves a curtain rail like that,” sniffed Mrs Kentishtowner, as she wriggled to get comfortable on one of the high stools. “Or that wallpaper. It’s all a bit B&Q, isn’t it?”
So after just one drink we scarpered and headed, instead, to NW5’s hottest spot for dinner.
The Bull & Last: where have you been all our lives? Now here’s a food pub in tune with its audience. Packed to the rafters with an urbane, lively crowd, we sat by candlelight and tucked into starters of new season asparagus, Serrano ham and a meltingly soft hen’s egg (£7.50) and a very flavoursome pig’s head terrine (£7.50) respectively.
Mrs KT then opted for pitch-perfect fish and chips (£12) whilst the veal with cauliflower, wild garlic and crushed potatoes (£16) was as joyful as skipping through a field of bluebells. What’s more, we guzzled an assortment of pink and red wine by the carafe (around a tenner+ per half bottle), a cheese platter and two unsurpassable expresso martinis (£6.50 a pop), almost physically unable to drag ourselves away.
“It’s the kind of place where people tell stories, not discuss house prices,” was Mrs Kentishtowner’s verdict, as we stepped, a little heavier, into the still-warm night.