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22 Old Broad Street
Temple and Sons closed permanently
Part of the Jason Atherton empire, this two-floor bar and grill has an unassuming exterior, but transports you to London’s East End of old once you’re inside: think dark woods, bartenders with flat caps and cocktails in tin cans. The small, ground-floor bar (a deli by day, selling the likes of game sausage rolls) serves up quirky delights including Yellow Paint, a sharply flavoured, mustard-based cocktail. In the restaurant a light, chill-jam-spiced dish of Isle of Mull scallops might be followed by a hefty helping of fall-off-the-bone pork chop and collar, with a crunchy topping of sage and pine-nut crumb and scraps of crackling. Portions are huge, but the sides are worth saving room for, including barbecue beans with a hint of jalapeño and a coating of gooey, smoked English mozzarella, or a decadent mix of mushroom, garlic, parsley and truffled goats’ curd. Classic Brit desserts, such as sticky toffee pudding with Cornish sea-salted caramel and clotted-cream ice cream, are served in retro china bowls. Despite an over-abundance of (well-drilled) staff which suffocates the comparatively small space, overall this is a minimal-fuss addition to Atherton’s arsenal. With reasonable prices too, we don’t mind being a cheerleader for this champion of British cuisine.
Best for weekend brunch
22 Old Broad Street
Fenchurch Street Station 346m
Liverpool Street Tube Station 383m
City of London Club 55m
Drapers' Hall 159m
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
On a cold, dank December evening, walking into the new Atherton outpost felt like a step into the London’s Edwardian past. The former bland interior of what used to be a Wagamama, transformed into a pre-war London grocers with many nods to nostalgic foodstuffs dotted around and with the clanging bell above the door, it really felt like being downstairs at Downton although the 70’s and 80’s soundtrack quickly put paid to the idea that Lady Mary was going to rock up anytime soon. The bar was sparsely populated during our visit, so once we had managed to clamber onto the very high stools, we managed to enjoy our G&Ts in relative peace. Our table in the first floor restaurant had very little direct lighting and the single tea light on the table did not help in deciphering the menu. Fortunately we had studied it at length in advance, and even the display of catch and meats of the day, which the obliging staff bring to each table on huge wooden platters, could not sway us from our choices; my friend opting for the sausages and mash, I for the game and truffle sausage roll. Have to admit that my dish looked every bit as good as all the publicity photos that abound, but a lapse in concentration on my part meant that the server had pretty much poured all the contents of the HP gravy over it before I could stop him. As such, the pastry was somewhat soggier than I would have liked although the filling and indeed the gravy, were lipsmackingly good. We waived starters (other than a huge hunk of delicious soda bread and some seemingly out of place, but absolutely delicious pickled veg) in order to make it through to dessert, which proved to be a genius decision. We both opted for the sticky toffee pudding with sea salted caramel and clotted cream ice cream…..O…M…G…..heart attack on a plate but what a way to go! We mentioned to our server that we are now torn as to which Atherton restaurant offers the best dessert, as this runs the tarte tatin at Little Social very close. She laughed and mentioned that the pastry chef from LS is now in situ at Temple and apparently he fist pumped the air when she relayed this news to him. Overall this is a fantastic addition to the City restaurant scene although I do question what it will be like to eat there in the height of summer as it does feel very dark and confined inside. I’m also not convinced that dressing the waiting staff in period-style urchin uniforms complete with flat caps, is borderline themed restaurant – I fully expected them to burst into a refrain of “food, glorious food” at any given moment, but that aside, I’m already looking forward to my next visit. Oh and final tip, be sure to check out the washrooms if only for the complete contrast to the design of the rest of the place!
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