A thousand thanks to Simon Majumdar for steering me to the Fox, an absolutely charming little gastropub. I had a night in London last week for a business trip, and the fact that the Fox is located a brisk 10-minute stroll from my company's offices in Liverpool Street bodes well for future meals.
The pub is on a quiet stretch of Paul St; as you approach, you'll see candlelight emanating from the windows. The ground-floor pub is dominated by a massive circular wooden bar, and the overall effect is one of soft light and warmth, with quirkily mismatched chairs and tables scattered around the room. It looks as if they do a bar menu -- sandwiches and pasta al forno, that kind of thing.
The dining room upstairs is equally charming. A table d'hôte for 12, with a handful of smaller tables (space for 30 or so diners in total). Wood floor, pressed tin ceiling, a collection of old mirrors on the wall, candles and more candles -- and what looks like a nice little terrace for summer.
The wine list offers a dozen or so wines by the glass, and the menu is music to a minimalist's ears. Four choices each for starter, main and dessert; you can have 2 of 3 courses for 15 quid, or all three for 18. I've no idea how often the menu changes, but the options last week were:
Starter: Garbure béarnaise; mackerel with chicory and poached egg; roasted butternut squash, red onion and rocket salad; galantine of salt marsh lamb
Main: potato pancakes with beetroot and feta; cod with fennel and salsa verde; veal with lentils and red wine; Sutton Hoo chicken with mashed celeriac
Dessert: Rhubarb semifreddo; quince crumble; cheese; something else -- probably chocolatey
I opted for the squash and rocket salad, which was lovely -- straightforward but nicely done -- and the chicken and celeriac. Again, straightforward and well-executed -- and an enormous portion. The celeriac was particularly tasty. No room for dessert, but with a glass of respectable Madiran, I left just 18 quid lighter. Pretty darned good for the heart of London, I'd say.
I need to check if they do lunch, because I'm back again next week and plan on dragging some colleagues over.
Thanks again, Simon!