The Ship Tavern is both a traditional Ale House and Dining Room and has been a part of Holborn’s history since 1549! They pride themselves on offering what a British pub does best: good service, honest, home cooked British classic food and serving excellent ales! The Ship Tavern has been described as “Holborn’s best kept secret” and after a wonderful evening there we can certainly attest to that. After a big day of exploring London’s sites we were both freezing and starving and it was immediate relief to step inside the restaurant to be greeted with wonderful warmth and delicious smells wafting from the kitchen.
It was a lovely, bright clear day in London on Saturday but from the minute the sun started to drop it became bitterly cold and we were absolutely freezing by the time we arrived at The Ship Tavern. We entered via the stairs to the dining room rather than through the pub downstairs and felt immediately relieved by the lovely warmth. The dining room is warm, cosy and elegant. The decor is very charming with antique paintings, books, candles and naval themed trinkets adorning the gorgeous mahogany walls and a crackling open fireplace. We were greeted by the friendly staff and taken to our table which was a private dining booth that we both absolutely loved! The candles and lighting also add to the ambiance and create a very intimate, relaxing atmosphere.
The Ship Tavern has an exciting history dating all the way back to 1549 and has been central to the social scene in Holborn for almost 500 years! In addition to being a tavern it also was used during the reign of Henry VIII for Catholics to attend mass and was conducted by outlawed priests!
In addition to the upstairs dining room there is also a popular bar downstairs which in addition to serving a wide range of excellent ales also serves traditional British pub food and snacks. It is a beautiful, historical pub with stripped oak floors and cosy booths.
We ordered drinks whilst we decided what delicious options to choose from the menu! Dan went for the 1549 Ship Tavern House Ale which he really enjoyed and I opted for a glass of Malbec Manos Negras from Argentina, a red with defined flavours of black fruits and hints of violets. It was delicious and just what I felt like on this very cold night!
We were very impressed with the menu which showcased a wide variety of great British culinary pub classics and uses fresh, local produce. There is also a daily specials board to choose from!
Dan chose the Salt & Pepper Calamari with Spring Onion Mayonnaise for his entree whilst I opted for the Crumbed & Deep Fried Brie with Rocket Leaves & Cranberry Sauce at the recommendation of our lovely waitress. The Salt & Pepper Calamari was lightly battered, freshly cooked and paired deliciously with the Spring Onion Mayonnaise. I was blown away by the Brie. It was an enormous serving of Brie which oozed out from its crumbed shell once cut into. It was absolutely mouthwateringly delicious and tasted even better when eaten with the cranberry sauce. It was the perfect start to a wonderful meal (and I still haven’t stopped talking about the brie to anyone who will listen)!
Dan was tossing up between the Lamb and the Pork Belly for his main and decided on the Trio of Lamb when he heard that it was the chef’s specialty! The Trio of Lamb comprised of braised lamb shoulder, lamb fillet, crisp belly and was served with creamy mashed potato, garden peas, mint puree, roasted vine tomatoes and mint oil. It was beautifully presented and the each aspect of the lamb was cooked to perfection.
After our day being tourists in London, I felt that I couldn’t go past the ‘1549’ House Ale Battered Fish & Chips served with hand cut chips, pea puree and tartare sauce to end my typical English day! It was a very generous serving and the haddock was lightly battered and flaked apart beautifully. I loved the chunky hand cut chips and everything was fresh and cooked perfectly!
We took a little break between our main course and dessert to let our meal digest and to simply relax and enjoy the surroundings. We loved the relaxing, romantic atmosphere of The Ship Tavern and loved watching the light from the many candles dance off the paintings on the walls around us. Dan enjoyed his 1549 Ship Tavern House Ale so much that he ordered another one, whilst I decided on a Gin and Tonic. The Ship Tavern have an impressive Gin list and I decided on ‘Hoxton’, a coconut, grapefruit, juniper, tarragon and ginger gin which was very refreshing and enjoyable.
After our main courses had gone down a little we ordered dessert. The dessert menu is mouthwateringly good and it was a very tough decision to narrow it down to two desserts! Dan chose the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Pod Ice Cream and I being a lover of all things cheesecake decided on the White Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecake served with Chantilly Cream and Raspberry Coulis. Dan’s Sticky Toffee Pudding was dessert perfection! It was warm, gooey, sticky and sweet – just as a sticky toffee pudding should be! The vanilla ice cream was creamy, smooth, full of flavour and tasted wonderful with the warm sticky toffee pudding. My cheesecake was rich and creamy and I loved the combination of white chocolate and raspberry. Our sweet desserts were the perfect finish to a flawless meal.
We found the service excellent throughout the entire night from the moment we stepped through the door until the moment we left. Being a Saturday night, the restaurant was very busy but the staff coped very well and were very friendly, helpful and attentive not just to us but to all other patrons in the restaurant.
Our evening at The Ship Tavern was excellent, we loved the decor and atmosphere and the food was top notch food and truly showcased fine British pub food. We’d highly recommend it and we’ll also certainly be back!
The Ship Tavern
12 Gate Street
London WC2A 3HP
020 7405 1992
The Aussie Flashpacker was invited to review The Ship Tavern.
Our opinions are as always, our own.