Rugby Tavern

Relaxed Sundays at Rugby Tavern, Holborn

There’s nothing I love more than discovering a really great pub, in the middle of somewhere I would likely never pass – it brings great joy.

Of course, I didn’t discover Rugby Tavern, I was invited, but I think it’s really important that you all discover it. Nestled on a slightly residential street in Holborn, just off the beaten track, I feel it’s highly unlikely you would discover this spot meandering around the city during the weekend.

On that note, I expected it to be a little empty, but upon arrival, I was pleasantly surprised. The downstairs acts as a very traditional pub space, with the bar taking up the centre of the room and a consistent buzz of activity. However, if you venture upstairs to the dining room, you’ll find an incredibly decadent and elegant private dining room.

Despite the secluded location, the dining room was busy enough to feel buzzy, but not overwhelming, as it is a smaller space. Decorated in navy tones, with beautiful crockery and glassware though, this is a perfect date spot, or the ultimate location for a long, lazy lunch. And lazy lunch we did.

We stopped off at Rugby Tavern, or rather Bistro Bleu, which was the name of the dining space, for a grand five hours in total! Mainly as it was so relaxed, warm and cosy, with the staff welcoming and not pushy. Best of all, it’s dog friendly, so a smorgasbord of pups rotated throughout our visit too, which is always nice.

It’s here you’ll find a very reasonably priced Sunday roast menu too. You’re hard pushed to find one course menus for less than £30.00 on Sundays in London, so revel in the two course menu for £30.00, or a generous three courses for £36.00. You can even add a 500ml carafe of house wine for an extra £5.00 per person. This has got to be one of the best value Sunday menus in central London.

The menu is small and fuss free, with seasonal specials and intriguing options that change regularly. We opted for the Chicken Liver Parfait with red onion compote, cornichon and toasted baguette, alongside a Treacle Cured Salmon, served with pickled carrot and granny smith apple. Both dishes were generous in size, fresh and beautifully presented.

The main event included: Scottish Striploin of Beef, Slow Roasted Pork Belly, Free Range Chicken served with chipolatas, sage & onion stuffing and bread sauce and a vegan-friendly Roasted Butternut, Kale & Mushroom Wellington. Cauliflower Cheese is available as a side and is generously portioned. It really should be the law to have cauliflower cheese on a Sunday menu, in my opinion. The pork belly was succulent and flavourful with a rich gravy and divine crispy rind, bringing together the dish perfectly.

A quick trip to the loos will remind you of a Wes Anderson movie. Think quirky wallpaper and a lovely colour on the walls which I’ve earmarked for when I can eventually afford a flat in London (otherwise known as never).

Dessert was lovely. A perfectly formed Vanilla Pannacotta was served up with spiced roasted plum, allowing for an indulgent Christmassy flavour – anything to perk up January. My guest went for a creative spin on a classic, which was an Apple & Cinnamon Spring Roll, served with caramel sauce. Think a spring roll shaped like the ones you get from the Chinese, but with all the flavours of granny’s home-made apple pie – very tasty.

Service wasn’t slow at all, the waiters and waitresses are just very attuned to your mood and pace, which was a real pleasure. Sometimes you just need to while the hours of Sunday away chatting and enjoying really good food in a fancy setting. Definitely check this place out!

For more information, visit: