One thing I haven't done however is head down there for a Sunday lunch. At least until last weekend, when a group of us were chivvied to brush our faces and arrive broadly on time (after me the next arrival was 20 minutes after the table time, with the last person getting there over an hour and a half later - we have a flexible attitude to timekeeping..)
I don't think I've enjoyed a meal more in years. Yes, it was the getting together with a great group of friends, an enjoyable experience whether you're in the DST or the Scunthorpe branch of a Harvester, but the location really created the occasion. There's nowhere better I've found in central London for generating an appropriately louche atmosphere appropriate to a boozy blow-out on a Sunday.
We all waded into the Sunday special Bloody Mary menu, four different twists on the classic cocktail including an spicy number cut with Scotch Bonnet peppers and a 'Hair of the Dog' with mustard and horseradish. It's a 'fuck you' take on the weekend mimosa menu you see at Soho House New York, and the perfect starter after a big night out.
Eschewing the lighter starters on the set lunch menu, I dived into a haddock souffle from the a la carte, velvety rich and as comforting as a boarding school matron's bosom. It was served with a parsley sauce drizzled from a copper pan by a man whose sideboards would have him thrown out of stuffier establishments. I regretted my excessive starter as soon as the plates of Hereford beef hoved into view. Yorkshire puddings the size of planets sat atop two thick slabs of perfectly pink prime rib roast. Sides were shared, sparingly, and for the next 20 minutes there was virtually no conversation as we attempted to make a dent in our plates. The cauliflower cheese on its own isn't as good as you get at Hawksmoor, but it's an admirable foil to the beef. There are greens, and honey-cooked veggies, and roasted potatoes and... in short, you'll struggle. I struggled and I'm a semi-pro. You probably need training first.
Beef juices leaking out of our every pore, not one of us could cope with desserts, though matron would surely have tried to force a spotted dick on us if she could. Coffee and we were done, blinking into the thin spring sunlight, incapable of eating for the rest of the day. They've still got it you know...