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December 14, 2012

Emily’s Openings on Goodge Street: The Newman Street Tavern and Rev J W Simpson

By Spear's

I’ve been hanging around Goodge Street a bit lately. It may not be your usual evening venue, but there are one or two little places popping up that are worth a mention.

I’ve been hanging around Goodge Street a bit lately. It may not be your usual evening venue, but there are one or two little places popping up that are worth a mention.
Newman Street Tavern is one such place. Perched on the corner of Newman Street and Goodge Street, it has only been open a week or so.

I went in on the Monday just after it opened for what turned out to be a very good and simultaneously massively awkward dinner (but that is only because of the very merry group of middle aged men sat on the table next to me).  

The place itself is cosy, with dark green walls heavily covered with photographs taken by Peter the chef, prints of colourful fish and other such delights. A mix of small tables and benches fill the downstairs area, aimed at those dropping in for a drink and a snack – perhaps from the huge ice-filled trough of fresh seafood – while upstairs is designated for proper dining.

The eclectically decorated walls of the Newman Street Tavern

The menu focuses on showcasing the best local produce the kitchen can get hold of. Snacks on the night included wonderful pork crackling with a crabapple sauce, fresh scallops served in the shell with garlic and pernod, thick slices of deep pink, fatty charcuterie, smoked eel with horseradish sauce and lamb scrumpets — all rich and fried.  Yes, I ate all of them and they were good. Very good. I could have happily munched away on snacks all evening.

That, however, was not the plan. Mains are a lovely mix of British ingredients: blackface lamb with anchovy potatoes, pork with cider onions and much more, which I would have remembered were I not being high-fived by the fifty year old to my right.

The kitchen is small — I know as I went for a poke around — but they have their own bakery and hanging room. The do all their butchery and fishmongering on site, and have a small smokery. It is an impressive operation given the size.

Puddings were chosen and sent up by the kitchen due to my indecisive nature and their thoughtfulness. I don’t have a sweet tooth, and yet I thought the sticky toffee pudding was fantastic — a big sticky coronary in a bowl. I could have put my face in the bowl, but didn’t as I had a guest with me and the man to my right might have attempted to lick my face.

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Anyway, I liked this place. It is essentially a relaxed pub with friendly staff and an interesting menu. The food is good, hearty and not ridiculously over priced. I have heard a few stories about minor issues needing to be ironed out but I can’t say I had any complaints. I didn’t try the raw bar but perhaps that is a good excuse to go back in soon.

Rev J W Simpson

If you’re in need of a stiff drink in a dark place then voila – here is your new haunt.

Smack bang on Goodge Street, all you see from the outside is a little doorway with a very big man standing in it. Down a narrow flight of stairs is a small candlelit room with unfinished walls, filled with low sofas and tables.

A typical speak-easy style room, it feels pretty private, even though you are sat in very close proximity to the other drinkers. The chaps behind Bourne & Hollingsworth are responsible here and it is very much a cocktail venue.

The menu has a nice mix of tipples and if there is nothing there to please you, the bar staff will very helpfully mix you up something more to your taste. They also bring you complimentary snacks, which in my book is a winner.

My drinking companion gave it 7 out of 10. Not too shabby (unlike the walls).
Photography of Newman Street Tavern Courtesy of Keiko Oikawa

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