The Punchbowl London 1

41 Farm Street , London, W1J 5RP

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SquareMeal Review of The Punchbowl London

This gorgeous old wood-panelled boozer has seen plenty of Mayfair life over three centuries, including a spell under the ownership of Guy Richie, who drank here with his celeb chums. The former Mr Madonna sold up in 2013, but new owners have kept the real ales and essential pubbiness of the bar, and the pretty first-floor dining room retains its gold-painted ceiling and jovial yet more formal atmosphere. Smart staff move deftly between tables, distributing refined British gastro fare such as ale-battered catch of the day, minted peas and chunky hand cut chips. Main-course Norfolk chicken breast is pepped up with forest mushrooms, celeriac, roasted garlic and a truffled tarragon sauce, while generous portions of English ricotta and spinach ravioli receive a textural boost from courgette ribbons, lemon thyme and caper brown nut butter. Rolo chocolate and blood orange fondant with honeycomb ice cream and a handful of sugared almonds makes for a delightful ending, helped by a global wine list that is pitched at regular pub quaffers as well as local Mayfair millionaires.

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6.7

Food & Drink: 7.3

Service: 7.3

Atmosphere: 6.7

Value: 6.0

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

Luncheon Vulture platinum reviewer 14 April 2016

Courtesy of an SM reward voucher, I booked a table in what I believed to be the rather smart looking dining room above the Punchbowl – the voucher clearly stipulating that it was for use in the “dining room as opposed to the bar”. Arriving early in order to have a pre-prandial or two in the bar, we were certainly looking forward to escaping the noisy and crowded bar for the anticipated calm of the dining room. However, having made our way to the first floor we were eventually greeted by a member of staff who informed us that the dining room was closed that evening. On mentioning our SM booking, he quickly informed us that a booth had been reserved for us……in the bar….. No doubt seeing my face fall at this prospect, he then assured us that he’d find us a booth away from the noise and that the dining room menu would be available. True, the booth was at the far end of the bar, but there was a speaker located directly above it and despite several requests, the volume of the music did not decrease all evening. So much for our civilised evening! The food was ok, but instantly forgettable although I would note that if you are serving a fillet steak with little change out of £30, it really should be a top notch piece of beef – unfortunately this was not the case. Service was fine if a little disjointed at times; there was a noticeable interval between the serving of our two courses. Although we were aware of the prices when we ordered, I think we were all somewhat shocked to initially receive a bill for just over £270 – shocked when you consider that between the four of us we only had two courses and didn’t go that mad on the booze front (that accounted for just short of £100 of the total). Whilst the restaurant manager was very understanding when we suggested that this was a huge amount to pay to eat in a pub, especially when we were expecting to eat in the somewhat smarter dining room, his generous concession on the bill together with the £100 SM voucher, could not detract from what turned out to be a bit of a let-down. If we’re in the area again we may pop in for a drink as the pub itself is very atmospheric, but next time I accrue enough SM points, I don’t think we’ll be redeeming them at the Punchbowl.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Lynn W. platinum reviewer 14 February 2016

A lively pub downstairs, we were offered a table there, but I'd seen pics of the pretty dining room upstairs so we opted for that. We both started with salad of roast onion squash, parmesan, endive, and goat’s cheese. It was fine, a generous portion and looked pretty in the bowl, but lacked much flavour and the endive leaves were completely naked of any dressing so a bit dreary to eat. We were comforted that we'd had at least 2 of our 5 a day. For main course I had fish pie, again a generous size, nice and creamy with a good cheesy topping, but the fish underneath was all a bit mushed up and indeterminate. It came with a side of leeks and was generally nice enough for a cold wet winter evening. The other main course of red mullet was good, and the cheescake dessert was eaten up with enthusiasm. We had a voucher for quite a large chunk of the bill, so splashed out on a Cloudy Bay chardonnay. It was a pretty quiet night for a Saturday - only one other table in use upstairs, horrible weather in January probably not helping. Overall it was fine, OK if you're in the area but not really worth a trip out.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Joanna G. platinum reviewer 13 April 2015

We booked the night before for Sunday lunch and were seated in the upstairs dining room (this was because we had a voucher that stipulated that it had to used there and not in the bar), that said, the menu is the same as the pub/bar on a Sunday I believe. There were only 2 other couples upstairs so the room, whilst bright and airy, was a little lacking in atmosphere for our tastes, but this is where the kitchen appears to be located as well, so the staff do run in and out with plates of food. All the staff were very friendly, courteous and knowledgeable. I had the roast chicken and my husband the burger with all the trimmings. The chicken was the most delicious, tender, melt in the mouth roast chicken I can ever remember eating, the gravy was sublime, the duck fat roast potatoes, cooked to perfection, on a bed of cabbage with a roasted parsnip and carrot and a good Yorkshire pudding. I ate the lot - which again made me very happy as I hate being given an enormous plate of food that I will never get through, and no one person could possibly need! The only thing that could have improved this meal would have been some sage and onion stuffing, but I would happily eat here again with it just as it was. My husband thoroughly enjoyed his burger, it was perfectly cooked, with two different types of relish, cheese and a slice of crispy bacon, with big duck fat chips (which defeated him). We accompanied the meal with 1 pint of cider, 1 Aperol spritz and a delicious and very reasonable bottle of Picpoul - all for just under £80 inc service. We will be back!

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The Punchbowl London is included in the following SquareMeal lists