Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Royal Oak, Borough, London SE1

Last Friday saw us visiting London. We were predominantly there to experience a Christmas present, but there were a number of other things we wanted to fit in whilst we were there. Visiting a pub in the GBG was one of them.

This Harvey's pub in London has been on my list of must visit pubs for a while. I'm a big fan of Harvey's beer. To pinch Bateman's slogan, they brew good honest ales!

As you enter from Tabard Street you are greeted by an interesting looking pub. It's a mix of original and pastiche. The furniture is assorted. Always a good sign. Wonderful dark wood panelling makes it a third of the way up the wall. Cream emulsion then takes over as a backdrop to assorted facsimile cartoons and advertising posters depicting various aspects of Victorian, Edwardian and mid -twentieth century life. The greeting from mien hostess is not so warm. But this is London, so it didn't overly concern us.

What I would describe as the back room is a magnificent Victorian parlour of an affair which I poked my head into as we left. The Royal Oak could well be considered to be the last pub on the moon, as there was definitely no atmosphere, although to be fair it was mid afternoon when all good people are still at work, although it was Friday afternoon when sensible people aren't!

I tried three of Harvey's ales. Now this might sound like damning with faint praise, but I find that their beer has a most enjoyable watery quality. I realise that those of you that like 'northern' type ales, will have had your taste-buds shot to pieces by constantly over-bittered heady ale, and therefore will not understand this concept. As I like subtle ales with no head I like the Harvey's served in this pub.

I had Harvey's Mild 3%, a dark mild with thirst quenching properties and a floral hoppy finish. Sussex Pale Ale 3.5%, a light session ale with a hint of hop, and Sussex Best 4%, a malty hoppy ale guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

I probably won't be going back there for a long time, if at all, as there are far too many other pubs I wish to visit in the nation's capital. But if it was on my doorstep I'd drink there, and often!