Tried & Tested

Restaurant check: Paternoster Chophouse

23 Apr 2015 by Jenny Southan

BACKGROUND

Paternoster Chophouse is part of D&D group, which owns and operates more than 30 restaurants, mainly in the English capital but also in a handful of overseas destinations.

Located close to St Paul’s cathedral, in the City, it is a good option for local workers and visiting business people, who can come for food in the restaurant, a drink at the sweeping marble bar or a Cuban cigar on the heated outdoor terrace.

For events, the 200-year-old Temple Bar by Sir Christopher Wren can host 13 delegates seated in a room above a historic stone archway. Meanwhile, the bar and interconnected courtyard can accommodate 100 standing, or 150 seated when the entire restaurant is booked.

THE RESTAURANT

This British chophouse prides itself on butchering the meat it buys in-house, and using as many parts of the animal as possible. It also serves game when it’s in season, sources fish caught daily, uses local fruit and vegetables (when possible), and makes all its bread and condiments on-site.

Paternoster chooses suppliers that work closely with farmers, artisan cheese makers and individual fishermen to help make sure the food it serves is produced ethically and sustainably. Some of those it lists are the Blackface Meat Company, the Colchester Oyster Fishery and Wellocks Farm.

When I arrived on a weekday evening, the light, open-plan, ground-floor interior was full of people tucking into dinner and knocking back glasses of after-hours wine. It had a good buzz and the friendly, youthful staff were quick to take drinks orders and advise on the menu.

The restaurant is attractive but not formal – no white tablecloths, silver service or plush carpets here. It’s the kind of place that offers a reliably decent dining experience rather than being a draw for celebrities and foodies on the hunt for the next big trend. And sometimes that is no bad thing.

THE FOOD

Being a chophouse, there is plenty to please the carnivorous – start with some pork scratchings and Bramley apple sauce (£3), before tucking into braised beef short rib (£20.50), roast venison with foraged leaves (£24.50) or a Black Angus rump steak aged for 40 days (£22.50).

There is also an array of fish and seafood (think potted shrimp, pints of Atlantic prawns, halibut on the bone and lemon sole), and side dishes such as green beans with crispy shallots, and creamed sweet corn with chilli.

I started with a simple pear, walnut and baby gem salad with blue cheese dressing, which wasn’t as tasty as I’d hoped (there was more lettuce than anything else), while my companion had the whole Cornish crab, which was served on a bed of ice with crisp endive leaves and mayo.

Next up was grilled calf’s liver with bacon and a pile of onion rings (one of the most popular choices, apparently), and red mullet with roasted root vegetables (a little dry and forgettable), along with a side of buttered spinach.   

The wine menu lists half a dozen red and white wines (from France, Italy, New Zealand and the US) available by the glass (£15-£13) and 500ml carafe (£14-£37), as well as a nice selection of English sparkling vintages (try the 2007 Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs from West Sussex at £95). Bottles represent a good variety of worldwide regions, both Old and New World.

We didn’t stay for dessert, but had we felt indulgent, we might have shared the Guinness chocolate cake with Irish cream.

VERDICT

The food isn’t going to dazzle and it’s not cheap, but if you are looking for a relaxed place to grab a bite with colleagues or clients, you could do worse. Paternoster is in a great location and the al fresco terrace is a real plus.

FACT FILE:

OPENING HOURS

Restaurant: Mon-Fri 12pm-3.30pm and 5.30pm-10.30pm; Sun 11am-4pm.

Bar: Mon-Fri 10.30am-11pm; Sun 11am-5pm. Closed Saturdays.

PRICES Two-course set menu £19.50, three courses £24.50. A la carte starters from £6.50 to £14; mains from £16 to £28.

CONTACT Paternoster Chophouse, Paternoster Square, Warwick Court, London; tel +44 (0)20 7029 9400; paternosterchophouse.co.uk

Jenny Southan

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