The best of both worlds at The Portman
Although there are plenty of gastro pubs in London, finding the perfect combination of a traditional boozer that also offers a top quality dining experience can prove relatively difficult. More often than not, pubs get stuck between the two and find it hard to bridge the gap in the right way.
However, we think that we may have discovered a pub with a rather refreshing take on this offering.
Located in London’s upmarket Portman Village and only a few steps away from Marble Arch, The Portman allows you to experience two different worlds, all under the same roof. For those who like to enjoy a few beers before dinner, there is the ground floor bar that has all of the usual pub attributes. Meanwhile, upstairs you will find a rather swish restaurant. Although it is not an entirely formal atmosphere it boasts a different type of mood to the buzzing bar below.
The first floor restaurant is incredibly popular with residents in this fashionable part of town and was fully booked during our mid-week visit. The extensive wine list includes some impressive vintages, with champagne available by the glass, along with a selection of cocktails such as the Portman Bloody Mary. However, with the pub below, it is also possible to stay on draft beer or Guinness, as we did!
The menu offers many customary pub dishes, with pie of the day and beer battered haddock served with stealth fries and mushy peas among the favourites. In fact, there is an excellent selection of fish and we would recommend opting for such dishes throughout. You can begin with the Crispy Squid, followed by either the traditional fish and chips, pan fried fillet of hake or roasted Cornish cod. That said, the chargrilled Cote de Bouef is also very impressive.
The stealth fries can be ordered as a side dish no matter what main course you choose but the cauliflower cheese gratin is also worth including as an accompaniment. There is a wide selection of refreshing sorbets that will help to cleanse your palette at the end of the meal and flavours include lemon, strawberry and coconut. Alternatively, the sticky toffee pudding may appeal to those wanting to treat themselves.
The dishes are presented immaculately and there is a strong focus on sourcing organic, British ingredients where possible. The chic vintage décor and white tablecloths arguably help to ensure that diners enjoy a restaurant-style experience. Although it is located only a few steps above, the atmosphere in the restaurant is very different to the pub below and the overall popularity of The Portman indicates that this contrast is well-received.
If you have yet to discover this haunt, it is definitely worth a visit, especially for those looking to combine the restaurant and pub experience without having to disrupt your night by moving venue.
The Portman Pub is located at 51 Upper Berkeley Street, Marylebone, London W1H 7QW, United Kingdom +44 20 7723 8996 www.theportmanmarylebone.com