Take a look at the Laughing Gravy’s website and the blurb suggests that it is ‘London’s best kept secret’. Expecting this to be a euphemism for ‘generally empty’, I was pleasantly surprised to find the place buzzing with a hungry lunchtime crowd on the Friday afternoon of my visit.
The restaurant has the feel of a gastropub, complete with a bookshelf, big leather sofas and food that is as British as it comes. Prices are reasonable, with a Burger & chips or a Chicken, bacon & avocado salad for £10. Take a price jump to around £17 and you can order some more intricate dishes, such as Red mullet with prawns & samphire or a Steak with shallots, mushrooms, roasted cherry tomatoes, Madeira sauce & garlic butter.
My starter of Chicken liver pate topped with sultana jelly was rich, creamy and all the better for its moreish surfeit of salt. Mains demonstrated the chefs cooking skills, with the generous plate of Scallops with bacon & crispy fried vegetables beautifully cooked and given a lift by a hit of lemongrass, which cut through when you least expected it. Come pudding time, I was torn between the Eton Mess and the Chocolate fondant and fortunately my choice of the latter didn’t disappoint; the fondant had a textured crunch on the outside and was so nearly properly gooey on the inside, but not quite. The salted toffee ice cream on top was brilliant though. It stopped the dish from being overwhelmingly sweet and made me salivate to the point of embarrassment.
To sum up, all of the dishes have a special touch that set them apart from most British cuisine and would bring people back for more. Moreover, the huge portions, strong flavours and awkwardly friendly staff make for a satisfying British experience.
Cuisine type: British
Dinner for two (excluding drinks): £60
House wine: £19
The Laughing Gravy
154 Blackfriars Road,
London SE1 8EN