If, like me, you are prone to flights of fancy and imagination then you will find much to enjoy at Mr Fogg’s Tavern. The eponymous Fogg is off travelling on his bet around the world but Fanny McGee keeps his tavern ticking over. Here you will be met with full Victorian gusto – corseted serving wenches carrying pewter tankards and stuffed pheasants hanging merrily from the rafters.
The rain clattered down against the window on the day of our visit and we were very snug in our snug. The food here is beyond decent – on Sundays there is Dedham Vale beef with enormous Yorkshire puds and little pots of vegetables. The Pork belly stole the show though, delighting in its own delicious fat like an Italian tenor. It was so soft, with a generous bite of crackling, that you could verily spread it on toast. The pies too, are much lauded by the clientele.
I had the Spotted dick for pudding because I had never had it before (which must surprise some given my racy past). Spot on, dick. Good custard too.
You want to go upstairs to the gin parlour after dining. Here the fantasy really blooms, with dapper men in cravats and a Croesian amount of gin. Forget going around the world in 80 days, here you can do it in 80 gins. And they are a thing of beauty, made bespoke according to your own tastes and so good they would make Hogarth down tools and morals and get stuck in. Handily there are little chaises longues to retire to afterwards, because the world might well spin a little faster after a few of these. Phileas really did know what he was doing.
Mr Fogg’s Tavern, 58 St Martins Lane, Map D4, Tel 020 7581 3992