LONDON EATERIES – Happy vibes and plenty of sides in The Happenstance
As a seasoned veteran of city bars I approached The Happenstance initially with some trepidation. I’ve worked in the City of London for a over 10 years and seen the profile change from the old days of city wide boys to the newer days of the arrogant young bucks snapping at each the heels of the city HR departments. I feared that the happenstance would be more of an ordeal than a pleasure – I have to say though as well as eating a great meal I’m eagerly eating humble pie at my initial reservations. I was pleasantly surprised to find a young, unpretentious relaxed and eclectic joint with a great bar, buzzing crowd and fabulous, and well priced food bang in the heart of the city barrow boys playground! We were happily greeted by Sarah the manager who showed us to a window seat in the back restaurant. The bar and restaurant have a great urban warehouse feel with lots of quirky pieces of decor that show that a lot of thought have gone into creating the right atmosphere for enjoyment!. The whole ambiance is more Shoreditch than City and a hip young energetic crowd reflects that – gone are the chalked striped suits and red braces look in here! The music was also upbeat, and fitting with the chirpy atmosphere.
The whole ambiance is more Shoreditch than City and a hip young energetic crowd reflects that – gone are the chalked striped suits and red braces look in here!
We were quickly presented with the vast menus and so to the food and drink.. the menus are really well organised with everything from, nibbles and a diverse selection of sides to salads, to gastropub to larger more eventful selections for dinner. There are also gluten free and skinny selections to cater for dietary needs and whims. These to be accompanied by a really varied and imaginative collection of cocktails, including a great selection of virgin cocktails, and well chosen wines categorised meaningfully for those less savvy with the grape. At the bottom of thje menu it also states that they company have an electronic charity box donating to a kids charity which we thought was a great touch. They also list all their suppliers too displaying a thoughtfulness and pride in their menu which is always welcome.
There are also gluten free and skinny selections to cater for dietary needs and whims.
While we were looking our cheery waitress brought a brie based amose-bouche to us which was delicious and set us up well. For starts I went with the salmon ceviche and my guest the squid tempura. Both swiftly arrived, presented imaginatively and generously. The ceviche arrived with the herbs and sauce separate with a jar to DIY it in terms of adding all the ingredients and shaking it up to coat the salmon. Such a fun touch! The tempura was good, a little heavy on the batter side but not chewy with a simply AMAZING sauce! YUM! For mains I ordered the fillet steak which was enormous but unfortunately tasted a but tired, and my guest the lobster and burger special which was exceptionally priced. These arrived with an enormous array of side dishes, may of which stepped way outside the conventional sides box and were much better for it. We had toasted green beans (well seasoned and crisp), butternut squash with cashews (delicious and flavoursome), triple cooked parmesan chips (moreish), a rocket and parmesan salad (fresh) and a garden salad which was a break from the norm containing fennel and sundried tomatoes. A FEAST! Everything was thoughtfully presented in a rustic style for example the chips came in a flowerpot and were just stunning! The sides are worth the trip alone and were tempted to ask to take away those that we couldn’t finish!
The sides are worth the trip alone and were tempted to ask to take away those that we couldn’t finish!
The waitress recommended some deserts that were too irresistible to say not to. I had the parfait and my guest the creamy lemon syllabub.. fit to burst it was time to roll out. We’ll defiantly be back for the atmosphere, cocktails and easy food fare. Its a great place and a welcome bussing hub in teh old walls of the city. Great for office parties, they run cocktail classes too r an after work drink or even lunchtime treat. The staff are friendly young and knowledgeable and it theres a great casual atmosphere – look it up if you’re in the area The Happenstance is sure to put a happy smile on your face.
We’ll defiantly be back for the atmosphere, cocktails and easy food fare.
The Happenstance, Fleet Street, St. Paul’s, 020 3355 1570 http://www.thehappenstancebar.co.uk/ Heart London Magazine’s 5 Star Rating Drink 4 Decor 4 Service 4 Atmosphere 4 Food 3
Emma, Heart London Magazine
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