There are plenty of pubs in Central London serving up average food... this is one of them
“A historic pub in London’s vibrant Covent Garden The Lamb & Flag was a favourite watering hole of Charles Dickens. Retaining its old-world charm, the pub serves great food, excellent real ale and features in practically every London guide book ever written.”
My brother, Darren and I went to the Lamb & Flag with our other halves for a Saturday lunch before the Wales vs England Six Nations decider (the less said about the match the better). He’d heard good things from ex-colleagues from his time working around Bank. The downstairs bar was busy when we arrived and got busier and busier as people piled in to watch the rugby. We were upstairs in the restaurant, which was nice and relaxed compared to downstairs as well as being light and comfy.
There’s been a pub on this site since 1772 when it was known as The Coopers Arms, with the name changing to The Lamb & Flag in 1833 and is now owned by Fuller’s. It has that authentic, old, proper pub feel to it that I’ve always had a love for. It was table service in the restaurant so we placed our drinks order, my brother and I opting for two of Fuller’s ales, I had an ESB, which has three CAMRA Beer of the Year awards, two World Champion Beer awards, and numerous others and my brother had a pint of Chiswick, which is a former Champion Beer of Britain. Both the ESB and Chiswick are really good ales and are good value at £4.05 and £3.65 respectively. The ESB is a strong, full bodied darker ale while the Chiswick is more of a light session beer.
Then came the food. The girls both went for sandwiches, a Fish Finger Sandwich with lettuce and tartar sauce for Alex and the Chicken and Bacon Club with black pepper mayonnaise for Antonia, both came with a portion of chips. They were both fine but Alex was a bit disappointed that the fish fingers looked more like they were made by Birds Eye than any chef in the kitchen. I had the Pork Belly with apple sauce, savoy cabbage and mash, which came with a random amount of grapes that just seemed a bit odd and certainly did add to the dish. The pork was nice and tender and had a good amount of crackling but the mash was a bit dry, as was the cabbage and the dish just needed something else… some gravy or some butter in the cabbage just to add some moisture. My brother’s Fish & Chips had a London Pride batter and came with peas, lemon and tartar sauce. The batter was nice and crispy but again, it was nothing special.
It was quite a late lunch for us (we met at 14:00) so we still had plenty of room for dessert. There was a daily specials menu which had a Belgian waflle as the dessert so Alex and Darren went for that to share, I had the Pear & Almond Tart with ice cream and Antonia chose the Rhubarb & apple crumble served with warm custard. These were all really disappointing… My tart was more of a stodgy cake than a tart, there was hardly any pear and certainly no pastry. The waffle was as solid as anything, suggesting it had been microwaved or reheated in some other way and the crumble just tasted a bit odd. The tart and waffle both came with ice cream so we naturally assumed it would be vanilla, however both dishes turned up with a dollop of strawberry ice cream, which tasted cheap, had lumps of ice in it and just didn’t work. All desserts also came with half a massive strawberry and a drizzle of chocolate sauce, which again just wasn’t necessary.
The Lamb & Flag is actually my kind of pub as far as drinking goes, it’s dark downstairs and it’s got a lot of character to it. You feel the age of the place and it’s on a cool little back street, but we thought the food let it down in a big way. Don’t get me wrong, I’d happily come back and spend an evening downstairs at the bar drinking ales but if you’re looking for a good pub in central London for lunch or dinner, this isn’t it.
|London Pride Battered Fish & Chips||£9.75|
|Fish Finger Sandwich||£5.75|
|Chicken and Bacon Club||£6.50|
|Rhubarb & Apple Crumble||£4.95|
|Pear & Almond Tart||£4.95|
|Chiswick x 2||£3.65 each|
|ESB x 2||£4.05 each|
|San Valent Pinot Grigio (250ml) x 2||£6.85 each|
33 Rose Street,
London WC2E 9EB