Great Queen Street, named after the street on which it resides, is a restaurant inside a former pub which is owned by the same people behind the Anchor and Hope and the recently opened Camberwell Arms.
The long and narrow-ish dining room was extremely lively and buzzy; the air was filled, rather loudly, with the noisy chitter chatter of fellow diners. We were seated at a tiny table for two that we could barely get our legs under, right by the door (which was irritatingly breezy as the door didn’t shut properly) but none of it seemed to really matter; there was an infectiously lovely energy about the place.
As we were feeling ravenous, and not all the starters took our fancy, we decided to start by sharing a main and starter. The duck giblets (which included the heart, liver and kidneys) with bacon and new season garlic on toast (£8) sounded offaly tasty – see what I did there?! Sadly however, the heart and kidneys were so overcooked they were like chunks of leather. The soft, spreadable garlic and bacon along with the rich, irony livers (which were cooked perfectly) were delicious though.
The quail, braised chicory, oranges and aioli (£14.50) seemed a bit steep, as pretty much the same dish is available at St. John Bread and Wine for £8.90. Even so, the bird was cooked perfectly and the slightly bitter chicory with the orange was a great contrast with it.
For main I opted for the fried breast of lamb, Swiss chard, olive and tomato sauce (£16). To be honest, I was really disappointed, mainly because it was served in a completely different way to how I’d imagined. The shredded lamb had been breadcrumbed and then fried, but the coating was totally grease laden, and as the lamb filling was really fatty it made the whole thing totally sickly – I could only manage half of the thing.
My gentleman companion opted for one of the specials from the blackboard; pigeon Wellington (£18) which sounded right up our street. It was basically a pie cut in half and although the flavour was good, the thinner parts of the pigeon breast were tough and chewy due to their overcooking.
We ordered some fries (£4.80) which were big old buggers that had been generously seasoned. We asked for an extra pot of the aioli, that was served with the quail; which was most definitely needed as they didn’t have any mayo. You can’t have chips without mayonnaise!
For dessert, we decided to share the Queen of puddings (£5.80). My god, it was absolutely incredible; baked and served in a ramekin, it had a damson jam and breadcrumb base with a chewy meringue topping. It was easily one of the tastiest puddings I’ve eaten in a long time.
I’ve heard many a good thing about Great Queen Street but sadly for us, the food we sampled was far from faultless – perhaps we caught the kitchen on a bad day. Even so, the buzzy atmosphere, really friendly service and that Queen of puddings made the trip a thoroughly enjoyable one.