I am always on the hunt for new places to eat.
A few weeks ago a friend of mine recommended The Running Horse. A charming little place on Davies Street (Mayfair) Supposedly they had a steak and chips and a smoked salmon salad that were second to done. Well, naturally I had to put that declaration to the test. So on a sunny, hungover thursday (this was a post-grazia review morning) I got myself a co-pilot. One of my oldest friends and photography genius, Jack Hardy. Well… where else do a couple of hungry Brits go to watch the quarter final of Wimbledon? A pub indeed. The Running Horse was certainly the perfect place!
These geezers, on a quick lunchtime jaunt out of the office certainly had the same idea….
Cute and quirky, bright and airy, with a lovely old wooden bar and an absolutely lovely waitress, The Running Horse is the epitome of all the things i love about good British pubs.
Without too much dilly dallying, we got straight on with it and ordered a round of bloody marys… the only hangover cure that works. Spicy, zesty, with a healthy Worcester sauce kick, I knew my delicate little self was in good hands from the first slurp.
This is me pre-bloody mary….
… 1 BM down, and onto the next. I mean it really has some miracle effects!
Right, to more serious matters. The food. We decided to be diplomatic and share a selection of dishes, to come the the table all in one. The starter plate was braesola served with rocket, wafers of parmesan and a rather pleasing goats cheese mouse. Delicious, creamy, salty and fresh, a little lemon might have been nice but a minor quibble. You can’t go wrong with top notch cured meat, cheese and salad!
For mains I went for the smoked salmon and crab salad, with green beans, fresh capers and tarragon. Jack got the steak. The intention to share was there… It didn’t really happen that way. As soon as the boy set his eyes on the steak, it was like trying to prize food away from Joey (in friends). Lets face it, it wasn’t a wise move!
The steak was a beautiful cut. Juicy, well-rested and perfectly pink, not that I tried it. The sounds Jack was making, a little akin to a cat purring, assured me it was good! The little hazelnuts in the side salad were a nice touch, but the chips, which I did try, were a whole other kettle of fish. They were crispy, perfectly cooked and drizzled in blue cheese sauce. I have never before had blue cheese chips, let alone chips covered in cheese that have maintained their crispness. My only association with cheese and chips goes back to filthy, post-partying, pig outs at Crispy’s (the Leeds purveyor of the finest battered sausage man can buy)… I am horrified to have not tried blue cheese chips sooner. What have I been missing?!
The salad was delicious too. The hefty amount of salmon did not go unappreciated, nor did the quality of fish. There might have been a little more crab, but all the other components on the plate made up for that. Juicy little cherry tomatoes, crisp green beans and a lovely amount of tarragon to lift the salad with its pleasing aromatic anise taste.
After I had suitably quizzed the waitress on the whole menu, got a tour of the amazing jockey-themed bar upstairs (The Whip, which I will certainly save for another trip) we finished of our meal with a little bit of something chocolately, whilst watching Murray getting thrashed by Dimitrov.
If you happen to ever find yourself in the Mayfair at lunch time, with an empty tummy to feed, this is definitely a place to check out. All the more so on a sunny day, when you can enjoy your lunch al fresco. The have a great menu choice or classics all re-inventied with unique little touches (like hazlenuts in the salad) that take the dishes out of the typical pub food realm and make them into something that much more spectacular. I will certainly be coming back again, possibly next time in the evening to try out their cocktails upstairs too.