We might walk pass numerous pubs every day without giving any thought as to the incredible history of these iconic British institutions. One such example is the glorious pub, The Elgin in Ladbroke Grove; it might look like any other gastropub from the outside bar the stunning array of well-kept flower arrangements. However, it is a grade II listed building and was a popular mod venue in the 1960s and a punk rock venue in the 1970s. Both The Clash and Ed Sheeran have played at The Elgin in relatively more recent times.
Inside there is a fascinating mixture of the old and the new with real wood fireplaces and opulent chandeliers alongside more colourful purple, comfortable seating and some post-modern paintings. The rooms are cleverly divided up into The Market Room where we enjoyed our dinner, the old school charm of the El Gin Palace, the main bar area by the entrance and various smaller private hire spaces.
Food-wise, they have the stodgier British classics but you can also enjoy a relatively healthy meal here too. For starters, we dined on tomato and mozzarella salad and Cornish Crab cocktail. Both dishes used Nutbourne nursery tomatoes and it’s great to see local restaurants supporting British produce, especially when they have such strong earthy aromas. The Cornish crab was equally fresh-tasting and you could taste that the meat had been removed meticulously from a crab rather than something more pre-packaged.
My guest had opted for a very exciting sounding salad: Freekeh salad, roast cauliflower, pomegranate, avocado, beetroot and Irish goats cheese. Freekeh is a green grain that has been toasted and cracked, it’s extremely healthy and aids digestion much like bulgar wheat. The dish was colourful, looked vibrant and had an appetising variation of textures.
I tried their salmon, crab, asparagus, pea and dill pie, which had a light, delicate and well-executed pastry although it was ultimately still very filling due to the healthy dose of accompanying potato salad. I could taste once again that the crab was very fresh, although I do feel it’s tricky to make seafood pies, as the delicate nature of salmon and crab etc, means more often than not, they end up being overcooked.
To end our meal, we tried a perfectly chilled and refreshing vanilla panna cotta, although when we return in the colder months, we will be diving right into the chocolate-heavy, The Elgin Marble cake. When will we ever get to claim ‘I’ve eaten the Elgin Marbles!”?