Isn’t it amazing how you can live nearly next door to a place for a year and a half, and never quite get around to eating there? That’s because, in London, I tend to stay Central for my food, if not just for the fact that I’m usually meeting people who are coming from all different directions. That’s how I’ve come never to actually eat at our local pub, The Prince Alfred. It’s a shame, really.
The pub itself is gorgeous: beautiful woodwork, etched glass and private stalls surrounding the bar that are separated by tiny door frames that you have to crouch down to get through. It’s pretty cool. Their restaurant, The Formosa Dining Room, is set off to the back. It’s a completely different, more contemporary style. It’s pleasant. Nicer than run-of-the-mill pub, but not quite fine dining.
My flatmates and I decided to finally go for a Christmas dinner before we all went our separate ways (the States, Austria, Devon) to visit family.
I started out with a brie pot with bread:
Eh. It was ok. While the bread was supposed to be crisp, it just ended up tasting a bit dry. and even though I was necessarily a fan, there wasn’t enough of it. We finished the bread with half a pot of cheese left. I hate it when that happens.
For my main, I had the butterfish with sweet potato purée and a Champagne sauce:
This was delicious. A very delicate, crispy top was contrasted by a very moist and flavourful meat. I was quite pleasantly surprised by it. The sauce was simple, but it had a lot going on. But to be fair, anything where the main ingredients are butter and booze is bound to be damn tasty.
For dessert, the chocolate brownie with ice cream:
I’ll admit this a brownie ice cream sundae sounded a bit Applebee’s, but it was the only chocolate on the menu, and I had a craving. It was ok, because most chocolate is good, but not anything I would order again. Glad they warmed the brownie though. Otherwise it would have been very dry.
Overall, I enjoyed the experience. Service was prompt and courteous. Not sure it was the greatest value in the world with about £25-£30 a head (splitting a starter and dessert, including wine) though. In the future, I think I’ll stick to the pub side. There are still a few restaurants in Maida Vale I want to try before I go back here.