Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Narrow

Gordon Ramsay has picked a great location for his first venture into the world of gastro pubs. The Narrow is bordered by water on two sides, with plenty of outdoor tables from which to watch boats zipping along the Thames or queuing up to moor in the Limehouse Basin. Inside, it is very much a modern pub, buzzing with well dressed office workers from near-by Canary Wharf. The beer selection is impressive, including a good selection from the Meantime brewery just down the river at Greenwich. The wine list is reasonable, with plenty of options under £20. You can pad your stomach with some bar snacks (we overheard a man explaining to his dainty looking non-English date what pork scratching are...). Or you can opt for a full meal in a side dining room -- assuming you've booked first. The menu is split into starters, "on toast", and mains, mostly in the classical vein of British cookery that is enjoying a popularity revival. My potted crab was lovely, generously portioned and not too heavy on the butter. My partner's "on toast" features three plump sardines. For his main, he went with the exciting pig's cheeks (the ones from the face) with mashed turnips. I had the "Welsh rabbit" (apparently that's the traditional spelling). It was quite small, but the waiter had warned me about that when I said I'd have it instead of a main course. It was also quite nice. But not nearly as nice as the one I'd had in St John a few weeks ago. The Narrow invites the comparison with a similar style of food, but unfortunately it doesn't quite come up to the extremely high mark set by St John. The prices are very reasonable, even without taking into account the Ramsay name on the menu. The food is nice, and promises to change frequently. And I probably will be back -- if only to enjoy the view over a few drinks. But I couldn't help leaving The Narrow a bit disappointed.

The Narrow, 44 Narrow Street, London E14 8DP; Tel 0207 592 7950;; DLR: Limehouse

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