The newly opened Newman Street Tavern is one of those places that appear gastro-pub-ish, even from the outside. Housed in an authentic London boozer, with the usual high ceilings and windows, an open casual atmosphere can be found on the ground floor. A deep ceramic troff houses the crustacea bar, which can be seen from the street, next to a prominent bar of the drinking kind. What is most interesting about the décor is the array of photographs and prints that dominate an entire wall; a kind of museum of the British Isles – that I’d suggest arriving early to digest. From foraging expeditions to cute Jersey cow close-ups, the photographs and wonderfully accurate illustrations are largely a homage to their many suppliers.
Head chef Peter Weeden (ex Paternoster Chop House and The Boundary) is taking things right back when it comes to food: local, specifically sourced and not wasteful, NST even has its own hanging room and bakery. The team don’t like leaving anything to waste as our Cornish red mullet and saffron soup demonstrated in its pungently rich entirety. What was nice, and backs up the claims that one ought to use all of the animal, was the soused red mullet that followed. I heard cries of ‘red mullet, twice in one sitting?’ Well yes actually – light, fresh and definitely tangy, the fish sat comfortably in its own pickled little bath, which was such a departure from the deep flavour of the soup that preceded it.
Sat upstairs where the tone slightly changes to a more traditional and quieter setting, the array of enchanting photographs continues and sustainability is seemingly not just a concern for the menu – with salvaged tables and chairs, and even cutlery having been specifically found by one of the owners. The large windows almost circled the room as we tucked into the exceptional roasted rib of Galloway, beetroot and horseradish. One of the pinkest, bounciest and most tender cuts I’d ever tasted, our meal was paired with a recommended glass of wine (ashamedly by this point I’d forgot to note) from their vast collection, specially selected by co-owner Nigel Sutcliffe (ex-Fat Duck).
I guess you could describe Newman Street Tavern as a well educated and travelled uncle whose wine cellar, hung game and stories would find you inviting yourself round for more weekends than is deemed polite. With elegant décor that makes for great snooping and discovery, it’s relaxed, indulgent and another little gem that has popped up in Noho (North Soho).