The Mall Tavern is located at a hidden corner of Nottinghill Gate. It has been here forever but the exchange of ownership and head chef has brought a much awaited fresh blood into the now modernised pub. Head chef Jesse Dunford Wood specialises in classic British dishes done exceptionally well, which has produced many signature dishes for the Mall Tavern, including the cow pie and the chicken kiev. Both are good enough to top one of the best in London, nothing short of spectacular.
The Mall Tavern has a modern gastropub deco, clean and simple. The hidden corner location hasn’t stopped trendy locals popping in for a casual lunch. We stayed a while after lunch, sipping tea and the usual catchup, during which the pub was always busy. A group of six men each ordered a cow pie, some solo diners came and left, a group of girls enjoyed beautiful desserts while next table drunk tons of beers. It’s a relaxing place that everyone felt comfortable to stay. As the lights dimmed around 5pm, the atmosphere gradually changed into a romantic one, the lounge music and candle light had easily postponed our decision to leave. In the end we stayed from 2 to 6pm..
The menu here was very simple, an A5 sheet of paper with half a dozen choices under each section. I knew the cow pie was going to be large so didn’t order any starter but the warm soda bread. My friend ordered some crackling as nibbles.
Pork crackling with Bramley apple sauce
Perfect in every way, crispy and snappable, definitely not good for my waistline!
Fresh warm soda bread
One of the best soda breads I’ve tried, a much denser texture compared to white fluffy breads with an ideal moisture content and an appetising fragrant smell. It was done exceptionally well!
This was the best pie I’ve ever tried. As soon as it landed on our table, I couldn’t stop staring the golden brown pastry, a work of art. The pastry was really thin, easily breakable to reveal the tender and succulent beef, as if it was braised for days with all its juices captured. Centred in the middle was a bone marrow, this creative twist gave unique flavours to the pie, richer and definitely juicer. The pie showed its signature status in every way as our next table ordered cow pies only.
Chicken kiev was another signature at the Mall Tavern. Nothing like the classic chicken kiev that has a small slit of butter stuffed in the centre of a chicken breast. Mall Tavern’s chicken kiev had a playful chocolate egg shape with juices desperately running out as soon as you break it open. Sitting on a thick slice of hash brown that worked its wonders to provide a mash texture for the crispy layers of the kiev. No wonder it’s a signature, definitely one of the best I’ve tried!
'Storm in a teacup' cheesecake
If you’ve made one of those instant cheesecakes, this was very similar. Like a trifle, layered with cream cheese, tangy berries and tossed on some crumbs. It was surprisingly refreshing rather than a dense cheesecake that would need 10 coffees to wash off.
Pistachio & chocolate ice cream cake
My friend loved this ice cream cake, which was refreshing and light with evident Pistachio flavours coming through nicely.
Verdict - 4/5
Food (superb) - the cow pie and chicken kiev were both superb to the extend I’ve not tried anywhere better. Both capable of producing instant cravings whenever I think of pie or chicken. Everything else was great too, including the warm soda bread and desserts. They also serve good roasts of beef and chicken on Sundays.
Service (casual) - the vibe here was very casual, a simple pub with energetic yet relaxing music. At night, lights are dimmed for a romanic atmosphere. We didn’t wait for any dishes, everything came at the perfect time.
Cost (above average) - the cow pie and chicken kiev were both £14, and we billed £72 for two people without wine, but we did drink a lot of water and tea.