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Historical Dining in Holborn at The Ship
The weather in London has been so awful recently that I’ve turned into a bit of a recluse. However, an invitation to try The Ship Tavern brought me out of my hibernation the other evening and it proved well worth the trip. In fact I can’t think of anywhere nicer to take sanctuary from the freezing wind and rain than this 500 year old historical tavern. It really is steeped in history and still has some the original ‘hidey-holes’ used by Catholic priests in the days of their persecution by Henry VIII. The establishment also benefits from being a mere 2 minute walk from Holborn station. The dining room has its own entrance off the street (so no need to push your way through the pub) and as soon as you enter you are immersed in the warmth and cosiness of your surroundings. Wood panelled walls, intimate dining booths with tables lit by candlelight and an open fire makes you feel as if you’ve had a big hug as soon as you reach the top of the stairs.
Although it’s taken me a while to come across this place it is clearly no secret as it was already well into the evening dinner service when we arrived at 6pm. However, we were given a warm greeting as soon as we arrived and immediately shown to our table. The menu mainly consists of traditional British fare, with a changing daily specials board. For starters I was torn between the Wild Mushrooms Flashed with Brandy or the Dorset Rock Oysters but ended up plumping for the Seared King Scallops served with a Rabbit & Sage Meatball. This proved to be a good choice as not only was it presented so beautifully that it wouldn’t have looked out of a place in a fine dining restaurant, it also tasted delicious. The scallops were amongst the sweetest I have tasted and the little rabbit meatballs provided a subtle gamey accompaniment.
My husband is a traditionalist when it comes to food and he was in heaven with a menu that included Ox Cheeks, Real Ale Sausages and Beef Wellington. However, he was won over by one of the pies on the specials board – Steak & Ale. Now when Ray versus food, he undoubtedly comes off the winner. However, such was the size and richness of this pie that it nearly had him throwing in the towel! But its sheer deliciousness, together with the accompaniment of properly cooked fat chips, had him ploughing through to the very end! His waistband may not have thanked him on the way home but apparently it was well worth it!
For my main course I opted for Wild Mushroom Risotto served with a Poached Duck Egg. Again, this was pure food heaven. The risotto rice was cooked just slightly al dente and coated in a creamy mushroom and parmesan sauce, with the egg giving it an extra layer of richness.
After his pie, Ray couldn’t manage dessert so I went it alone with the Baileys Crème Brulee and Raspberry Sorbet. The Brulee was rich and creamy and was complimented by the tartness of the raspberry sorbet. Again, I kept eating long after my waistband was telling me to stop.
For food of this quality in the heart of central London you would expect to pay a lot more. On average starters are £6-£9, mains range from £13 to £29 for a Fillet Steak and desserts are £6-£7. There is also a very nice wine list which isn’t too eye watering (a bottle of Gavi di Gavi is £22.30).
As you can probably tell we had a thoroughly enjoyable evening and will certainly be going back. Next time we will try out the Sunday lunch, which I’m sure is equally as amazing.
The Ship Tavern
12 Gate Street
020 7405 1992