The Shakespeare Pub, Barbican, London
From the outside The Shakespeare looks like a classic London street pub and, maybe, not the kind of place two Sassistas would choose for a ladies lunch. We were wrong!
Step inside and you find yourself in a cuddle of wooden chairs, leather sofas to sink into, old paintings, clean tables, an good old fashioned wooden bar and a good old fashioned warm welcome from the managers.
The standard menu is a variety of Anglo and Italian foods. A good range of pizzas appeared large and well-cooked from the gusto with which our fellow diners were eating them. The remaining menu is classic pub food with a few Italian additions such as calamari and Sgabei (a dish of Italian bread, dolcellate, parma ham and prosciutto cotto ham). There is also a daily specials board with, on our visit, a mix of Scotch broth, interesting raviolis and salads.
We went simple and opted for two burgers, one meat, one veggie. It was cold outside and we needed heating up. There was no disappointment here. The burger of Scottish beef was rated ‘gorgeous’ by my companion who is not one for loving her food. Well-cooked and moist in a light bun and all the bits, it came with crispy chips and the right amount of salad.
The vegetable burger of Halloumi, courgette and carrot was a vegetarian’s dream – flavourful, substantial and yet not stodgy. You can opt for mushrooms instead of chips to make this a meal which is both interesting and not guilt provoking.
In true Sassy form, we spied other tables and noted beautiful dishes of ravioli which were getting no complaints.
Our only query was the time we spent waiting – a little too long, but the food was worth having to spend more time over our wine. For beer loving Sassistas, The Shakespeare has a good range of craft beers.
Price: £35.00 for a one course lunch and wine. Good value.
Rating: Not posh, but a very satisfied 7/10