Hidden among a web of smart sleepy streets, Paul Merrett's gastropub/hotel has a comfortably moneyed clientele on its doorstep. Thankfully, they're more interested in good food than the proprietor's TV reputation, and Merrett concentrates on cooking sophisticated versions of popular classics, rather than showboating. A salad of black pudding with soft-boiled egg and fried potato is gussied up with some duck confit, 28-day-aged rib-eye is served with triple-cooked chips and a proper béarnaise, and fresh pappardelle comes with lip-tingling wild mushroom and garlic sauce, plus a generous serving of asparagus. The Victoria is popular with school mums at breakfast, ladies at lunch and extended families at the weekend, while the casual bar is handy for burgers, salads and sandwiches washed down with cocktails, gluggable wines and pints of Timothy Taylor Landlord.
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