I regularly meet an ex-colleague for lunch. As he’s still slaving away as a Westminster Civil Servant, time and venues are limited. However, today was the Queen’s Birthday (at least it was the privilege day that Civil Servants either take after the bank holiday or at a later date) and so we felt like splashing out.
The Blue Boar, claiming to offer ‘contemporary British dining in the heart of Westminster’, was our choice. It’s a little more expensive that our usual haunts, but ‘harassed worker’ is particularly partial to their Blue Boar Burger.
I arrived at 11.59am and after making myself known to staff, found a seat in the bar area and was presented with menus. In answer to the question, ‘can I get you a drink whilst you’re waiting?’ I said I’d check out the wine list and order a bottle. When harassed worker arrived, harassed and late, at 12.10pm, no one had been back to the table or was anywhere in sight and it was starting to get busy. We took an executive decision to leave and head across the road to an old favourite: The Old Star (OS).
Now normally, we’d have mac n cheese, but today we ordered what we’d being going to have in the Blue Boar: a burger and fish and chips. The prime steak burger (£15 in the BB) was £10.95 but was offered with a ‘free’ drink: pint of Peroni larger, beer, appletiser or coke. Bearing in mind we’d ordered wine, the offer was declined. My fish and chips (again £15 in the BB) was £10.95.
At the BB we’d have had a bottle of chardonnay, which I hate, but it’s the cheapest on the wine list at £27. At the OS, we had our favourite New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc for £25.
My fish and chips, served on a wooden board, were excellent. The batter was crisp and golden, the fish skinless and the chips served poking out of a paper chip-shop bag. With a portion of mushy peas and home-made tartar sauce in separate small dishes, I could ask for no more.
Harassed Worker didn’t finish his burger and proclaimed it to be a little dry – for £4 less, I could personally live with this.
The service was excellent (although you have to order at the bar upstairs the food is brought down to you) and as it was the Queen’s Birthday for Civil Servants, the place was empty and quiet.
All I would say is the Blue Boar’s loss was the Old Star’s gain. With the money we saved, we indulged in another cheeky glass of wine before he went back to the office and I headed home for a nap.