Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)


Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)


Article excerpt


The Cow Dining Rooms, W2

The Cow styles itself as a 'saloon bar and dining rooms' and its slogan is 'eat heartily and give the house a good name'. Downstairs is a busy, jolly, bar, with good beer and upmarket bar food. Upstairs is a charming restaurant with a limited number of tables, a considered menu, an interesting wine list and fairly fierce prices. Gastropubbery has come a long way since the demise of the grey cottage pie.

While some of the pricing may make us flinch, this is a finely balanced matter. The cooking in almost any gastropub in 2003 is of a much higher standard than in many smart restaurants in 1985. We expect much better food than we used to.

At the Cow Dining Rooms the kitchen knows its stuff. Starters include baby beet, mach?, ruby chard and soft boiled egg - good perky leaves, accurately cooked beet, splendid dressing, gooey egg - all faultless. Or grilled squid with that fierce chilli mint sludge called chermoula. Or spatch-cocked quail with soy, chilli, spring onion and garlic. This is good food. Tagliolini with tiger prawns, mussels, and crab consists of hand-cut pasta and a good, rich sauce. Main courses range from a slow roast loin of Gloucester Old Spot pork with braised lentils and salsa verde to a large hunk of roast hake with mash, parsley sauce and cockles.

The wine list starts with a house wine at [pounds sterling]12.50, then moves on through familiar names to a 1998 C?te Rotie from Yves Cuilleron at [pounds sterling]40 - or you could drink Guinness from the bar.

Service is friendly and presentation unfussy. The desserts are also accomplished - poached rhubarb with Greek yoghurt and honey ice cream and shortbread biscuits; affogato al caffe teams espresso with rich vanilla ice cream. The Cow Dining Room is usually full - every evening a succession of hungry hopefuls troop up the stairs only to be turned away. Best to book.

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It would be hard to think of an area in London where the residents had a higher opinion of themselves. …

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