A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican,
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week,
But I’m damned if I see how the helican. – Dixon Lanier Merritt
Well, we managed it. Because The Pelican, a newly revived pub and dining room that has reopened just off Portobello Road, isn’t just a great neighbourhood boozer – it’s serving up some exceptional food, too.
With a crack team of traditional craftsmen on board – from joiners and sign-painters, right down to the steak knife-makers – the place has been restored to its former glory just a year shy of its 150th birthday. And the old gal’s looking pretty good for her age – they’ve plastered the walls in soothing, muted tones; decked the place out with wooden tables and rust-coloured leather banquettes; and stoked the logs in the roaring fireplace. There is, of course, a stuffed pelican overseeing proceedings. And since this is a pub, they’ve not forgotten the important bits: there’s a thoughtfully curated wine list; local beers on draught including Portobello Brewing and Camden Hells; and some from brewers further afield, like Guinness, Deya, Lost & Grounded and the newly-revived Allsopp.
But The Pelican is not just about the booze.
See, head chef Owen Kenworthy is a seriously talented chef. He’s been on the pans at Sketch under Pierre Gagnaire, he was the co-developer and head chef of the brilliant Brawn for five years, and has consulted on menus for the folks at Angelina and Primeur. The guy knows his onions, and probably who grew them.
His passion for nose-to-tail cooking and sustainable farming is evident at The Pelican, where an ever-changing list of bar snacks can range from brawn on toast and game sausage rolls to native oysters, buttermilk brill skewers and spider crab on sourdough. And as they officially cut the rope on the pub next week, he’s just introduced a full restaurant menu, too. A weekly changing list of specials (including spit roast celeriac, and monkfish pie with lobster head gravy) is accompanied by an array of stellar small plates. Baby new potatoes, smoked over fire for hours; crisp-skinned trout served with the ribbony celeriac of dreams; glossy beets on a salty bed of cottage cheese… and a chocolate mousse that – trust us – you definitely have room for. Just try to restrain yourself from ordering everything on the menu…
…or your bill will hold more than your belican, too.
NOTE: The Pelican is open daily – you can find out more, and book a table, HERE.
The Pelican | 45 All Saints Road, London, W11 1HE
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