The Happenstance 1

10 Paternoster Square , London, EC4M 7DX

020 7618 9520

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SquareMeal Review of The Happenstance

Out of the same Drake & Morgan stable as The Folly, The Drift, et al, this “eclectic” bar/restaurant behemoth in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral pulls off the please-all style of its elder siblings. Busy but gimmicky postmodern decor, “frantic” loud music and tricksy detailing are right on target for a young City crowd, and we’ve been impressed by the “absolutely pristine” upkeep of the place. It can seem a bit like style over content, but The Happenstance wins approval with its comfy surrounds, “imaginative” drinks and “extremely varied” menu. Food kicks off with 'fully loaded breakfasts' before plundering brunch classics, small plates, sharing platters, “thick and juicy” burgers, salads, steaks and much more besides, while tipples range from big-name lagers and wines to a range of cocktails.

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9.3

Food & Drink: 8.3

Service: 7.3

Atmosphere: 9.0

Value: 8.7

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Frank C. silver reviewer 04 March 2015

The Happenstance is eclectic. It is L-shaped and in the junction has strange metal tiles with chipping white paint that seem to be hiding something from science fiction. At the front entrance on Ludgate HIll, there is a bar area and also comfortable armchairs with small tables. Sometimes one is allowed to have lunch here but sometimes not. More often one is sent to the restaurant area, the larger axle of the L, and that has a separate side entrance. However, if you come in through that side entrance the likelihood is that you will be summarily sent to the receptionist at the Ludgate Hill entrance. It's all very confusing and despite going there often I still don't get it. But that is part of the fun, I guess, like wondering what hellish engine from outer space lies behind the metal tiles. The menu is extremely varied, there are excellent daily specials and the food is very good. Hamburgers are thick and juicy, the fish in the fish and chips succulent. Once there was a chef who made crispy fries but he is gone and the current one favours pallid soft ones, a great shame. There is a wonderful fresh tuna salad (the tuna perfectly cooked and tasty) with chick peas. There are exotic things you can have, too, as befits a restaurant that is so London urban. I'm told the spicy stuff is particularly good but I can't have it as sweat sprouts from my scalp and down my beard and this puts off my lunch companion. Service is good and the staff is often interesting looking with personalities to match. Sometimes there is not much by way of staff, though, and one can be left alone for too long and especially in the armchair section. The armchairs are very comfy, so the thing to do is relax and catch a wink or two. I did once, but briefly. Which reminds me that the drinks, I'm told, are imaginative and delicious. I've never had one, fearing the combination of armchairs and alcohol. One has to work for a living.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Pam H. 19 March 2014

overall very good

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Pam M. 08 November 2013

Had lunch here on a Thursday afternoon, gets quiet busy so would reccommend booking! Food was lovely, well cooked and presented. Love how the bar is separate from the restaurant area, gives it a nice atmosphere and great place to two in one venue. Perfect location right by St Pauls Cathedral.

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  • The Happenstance

The Happenstance’s glamorous private dining room can be hired for private parties for up to 35 guests (20 seated). For smaller groups, they can cordon off a section of the bar, or for larger groups, the whole venue.

Private Dining Room
Capacity: 20