Queen Boadicea, 292 St. John St, EC1V 4PA; Tel. 020 72789990; Tube: Angel; www.thequeenboadicea.com
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Queen Boadicea - gorgeous, at least in looks
Queen Boadicea is gorgeous. Well, perhaps not the original ruler of the Celts (according to a contemporary account, "she was very tall, the glance of her eye most fierce; her voice harsh. A great mass of the reddest hair fell down to her hips. Her appearance was terrifying"), but certainly the name-sake pub in Clerkenwell. Both inside and outside, walls are lined with those old-fashioned shiny brown tiles. There are chandeliers, antique looking tables and chairs, comfy chocolate brown leather sofas. menus chalked up inside gilded frames and striking wall paper of silvery tree stems stretching upwards out of blackness. And yet for all the grandeur it manages to retain a cosy (albeit reasonably elegant) pub feel. In line with the elegance, the short cocktail menu (2 for 1 on Tuesdays) sounds tempting. The wine menu (starting with a Chardonnay around the £13 mark) is less inspiring though, and they lose a wad of brownie points for offering only bog-standard lagers and Kronenbourg Blanc in the beer department. The food selection is also pretty limited -- nibbly things, burgers, a couple of pies, sausages and mash -- but quite well suited for a casual pub. The lamb burger (£6.50) was big, juicy and utterly delicious. Unfortunately, it was also somebody else's. My steak sandwich (£6.50) was encased in an attractive focaccia bun but the rib eye was sadly decidedly on the well done side (I'd asked for rare). It wasn't bad, but I've had much better. One of my companions extolled how the chicken and leek pie (£7.50) delicately balanced the flavours, but I thought it was pretty bland. The chips were gloriously crispy, and came with unbidden mayonnaise. But the mayonnaise was bizarrely served in the same pot as ketchup and my portion of carbs was heavily salted (unlike that of the doubly lucky lamb burger orderer). So I guess this Queen isn't going to win any battles in gastronomy. But then I think I am getting fussy in my old age. It is a beautiful pub and a a lovely place to linger. They have pub quizzes and are starting to do live music on Sunday afternoons. Still, in an area so well endowed with lovely pubs, the lack of decent beer may yet be the deciding factor in the great to return or not to return dilemma.