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51 Lamb's Conduit Street
A venue for reliving the golden days when business lunches took all afternoon, Vats is no place for food snobs, but attracts wine buffs who appreciate a glass or two of the serious stuff. Plates of
old-school British grub (lamb’s liver & bacon with mash, steak & kidney pud) play second fiddle to an impressive list of bottles from the greatest winemaking regions of the world. The big
French estates dominate, but there are also some interesting names from further afield, such as Cloudy Bay Te Koko (a complex, barrel-fermented white from the famous Kiwi producer) or Contino
Reserva (a warm & full-bodied single-vineyard red from Rioja). The higgledy-piggledy collection of rooms looks rather dated, but you can always escape to the alfresco tables out front.
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Best Private Rooms: <10
51 Lamb's Conduit Street
020 7242 8963
Russell Square Tube Station 420m
Holborn Tube Station 525m
The Cochrane Theatre 324m
Renoir Cinema 387m
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
Doing your research almost always pays off and there is a particular pleasure I believe all gasrophiles derive from finding consistently excellent restaurants that are somewhat off the beaten track and hence under-appreciated by others. Vats is just this and indeed I was (pleasantly, curiously) surprised to find not a single other review of it on Square Meal hitherto. Lambs Conduit Street (just to the north of Holborn) has much to offer, the lovely Lamb pub, Cigala another under-rated (Spanish) restaurant and, of course, Vats. Run by the same team for some time and always welcoming, posh and cutting-edge it is not, but in terms of service, food and drink and value, there are few better options, certainly in this area, or more broadly in centralish London. Being greeted by a smile and offered a choice of where to sit is always an encouraging start. The spicy tomato juice, sipped while considering our food options was just perfect, especially when approaching lunch slightly the worse for wear from the night before. In addition to the English/French menu comprising roughly ten starters and mains each, we were offered specials, two alternative ways of serving cod (it being a Friday) and venison (either in burger or stroganoff form), a nice touch. Being quasi-regulars, although the three of us differed in our choice of starters (crispy duck salad, pan-fried squid, and tuna tartare), we all opted for the main of Caribbean jerk pork, having enjoyed in times previous their similarly prepared chicken. The meat was juicily sumptuous, the spice mouth-tingligingly satisfying and the spring onion & plantain compote an inventive side. We paired this with a lovely Burgundian chardonnay by Louis Latour. The owners clearly know their wine and the list comprises a good if quite traditional range of predominantly French offerings. There is every reason to go, and let’s just hope that Vats doesn’t change too much; it does was it does exceptionally well.
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