Grubby old boozer gets given the gastro pub makeover. It’s a common story in London and while I do feel sad that local character sometimes gets turfed out along with the worn furniture, it generally means that the food is vastly improved. This is certainly the case with The Elgin, in Ladbroke Grove. Once a fairly dodgy but intriguing pub (the Clash played there and serial killer John Christie used to drink there) it has recently been renovated and is now a “food pub and music house”. I have been there a few times since the revamp, most recently for a Christmas lunch for 30 people.
What was a fairly grotty pub has now been primped and preened to within an inch of its life. The beautiful old timber bar is a focal point for the pub itself while a large back room with bold floral wallpaper and oversized red Anglepoise lamps provides a dining area. The Christmas menu on offer was £27.50 for three courses, which I thought was better value than the £45 for Christmas lunch at The Bluebird.
The menu at The Elgin takes a fairly conservative line that is not likely to scare away any punters. Cream of tomato soup was warm and comforting if boring. The smoked rainbow trout and quail egg salad was a restrained starter featuring a modest portion of oily, flavoursome trout and a tiny, delicate quails egg on some peppery salad leaves. The roast rib of beef erred on the side of being slightly overcooked but the gravy was nicely enriching and the dish was helped along by a generous serve of yorkshire puds. We don’t have goose and duck instead of turkey on Christmas day so I decided to try out The Elgin’s Norfolk turkey which came in a nice thick, juicy slice with all the trimmings including carrots and parsnips and chipolatas wrapped in bacon. Despite the fact that the accompanying cranberry sauce did not arrive at the table until after I had finished the turkey I was still fairly happy with my choice.
To finish, the cheese plate which featured a selection of cheese along with some crisp breads and chutney. It was quite a bit of cheese for a single serving but the lovely pungent aromas and tastes were spoiled a little as the cheese was served fridge cold rather than room temperature.
On previous visits service has been fairly attentive, but with a large group such as us in for lunch the waitresses were stretched and it was often hard to get their attention to order a drink or to bring various accompaniments to the meal. The Elgin may have been revamped but a few further revisions could be made to improve the food and service so that it is just as good as the impressive new decoration.
Details: 96 Ladbroke Grove, Ladbroke Grove W11 1PY (Ph 020 7229 5663) Tube: Ladbroke Grove
Category: Restaurants - Gastro pub, W11