Gordon Ramsays empire has been growing at an astounding rate of late. Amidst rumours of financial issues and chefs leaving to do their own thing, Ramsay has still managed to build a growing international empire. One area in which Ramsay has expanded into is the “gastropub” movement, with investments in the Narrow (Limehouse), the Devonshire (Chiswick) and the Warrington (Maida Vale). Asked to go along by their PR and give a “British Fortnight menu” at the Warrington a whirl, I gladly obliged and dragged my sister along to see what it was all about.
The Warrington is located in leafy Maida Vale, quiet and surrounded with the aura of the suburbs. The pub itself is incredibly grand with high ceilings and ornate fixtures, quite “busy” but ultimately quite aesthetically pleasing. Upstairs is where the somewhat more demure restaurant is located and dominated by browns and beiges, boring some might say, but I rather liked it. On arrival, it turned out that a fellow blogger in Essex Eating was there with his other half, so we joined tables and put the entire menu through its paces.
Mushrooms on toast with a poached egg - Whilst we were perusing the menu to see what we wanted, the maitre'd seemed incredibly keen for us to try one of his favourite dishes, simply mushrooms on toast. This tasted exactly how you would expect, earthy on toast drizzled with olive oil. The poached egg was perfectly cooked and oozed it's prize of a golden soak all over what lay beneath them. Nice and simple, but nothing more.
Bowl of clams, parsley and pear cider - I've got a real thing for clams at the moment and this dish was a simple combination of great flavours. My starter of sweet clams were cooked a la marinière, with pear cider being used instead of white wine. Really delicious.
Braxted Hall double lamb chop, samphire and smoked garlic butter - After such a satisfying starter, I wasn't sure that my main could live up to it. Thankfully what was put in front of me didn't let me down. I always like to have a good sniff of my food before I eat it, and the smell of the smoked garlic butter was just divine. The sweet lamb was accented by slightly salty mouthfuls of samphire, and the generous creamy smoked garlic butter brought all the flavours together. The crushed potatoes underneath provided the carbs. A fabulous dish, comprising of a mere 4 main ingredients.
Lemon posset - A straightforward lemon posset packed with zesty lemon, well made. The shortbread on the side was sweet and crumbly and went well together.
The Warrington surprised me. I was expecting overcomplicated dishes trying to be more than pub food, but what I got were simple dishes, well prepared and pared back to let the flavours shine through. Service was excellent, but you can't really judge it too reliably on an invite as they are often focussed on impressing, but with the company I was with, it all led to a thoroughly enjoyable evening. The set menu is due to change every two weeks and is currently focussing on the fruits of Autumn, and at £22 for three courses, it's excellent value. A great experience and I would quite happily return.
The Warrington - 93 Warrington Crescent, Maida Vale, London, W9 1EH