The Grazing Goat – London
A Great Gastropub in the British Tradition.
I hadn’t chosen The Grazing Goat, I was meeting old friends who I’ve been working with for more than a decade. We were meeting for our annual lunch to talk the next year through and to thank them for their business. Also to get lightly drunk together.
“You choose” I said. So they did, and they chose The Grazing Goat.
A part of the Cubitt House group, The Grazing Goat is by the same team who brought us grand and classic venues such as the Thomas Cubitt in Belgravia and the Orange Public House in Pimlico. The name may be reminiscent of an old bedtime story, or an old fable long forgotten, but you certainly can not judge this place by the name. A gastropub, it also pairs as an upscale, eight-room hotel in London’s beautiful Marylebone neighbourhood.
To start, I was late and despite the fact we had booked for 1:30pm, our table wasn’t ready, and so we perched ourselves on this small country pub’s outside, folding wooden-topped and metal-legged tables drinking beer. On a sunny winter’s day in London’s Marylebone, this is no hardship.
There were constant updates about the table we were destined for from our red-bearded French waiter. Five minutes he said – they have called for the bill. It was five minutes, and five minutes by French definition which meant about a half an hour, but as I said it was no misfortune sitting in the sun drinking beer with old friends.
The first thing that strikes you about the Grazing Goat is that it’s the epitome of a London country pub. Large French doors open to rustic aesthetics, with elements of bleached timber, brown leathers and tasteful taxidermy on the walls all saturated in natural light. The service is fast and fussy, although slightly chaotic. The second thing that strikes you is that the place is seriously in. The customers all seemed to have stumbled in from The Financial Times’ supplement, “How To Spend It”. The men bearded, groomed and handsome and the women rail thin, all experts in the ancient martial art of jumper tossing. Even walking up I thought I had mistakenly blundered into a Range Rover sales room because they lined Quebec Street in dark colours crowding the already small street with luxury.
When we were finally given a table from our French, red-bearded waiter the dining room was still packed with lunch-time revelers with no intention of going anywhere but staying and drinking the afternoon away.
The menu, heavy on British produce and featuring a smattering of game like goose and venison, seems unfussy and simple apart from a quinoa burger ( I mean really what’s the point? Either have a salad or have a burger) for £14.
The waiter who took our order, not bothering with a pen and paper, managed to get it all right in a superior display of memory considering how busy he was.
As a group we went for a mix of everything. Chilli salt squid with a smoked chilli and herb dressing (£8.5) and Scottish scallops with crayfish tartare, crispy pancetta and spring onions (£11.5) for entrees. For mains we indulged in the spiced chicken (£17), 220g beef short rib (£20) and the Berkshire venison haunch (£24). The food was very good, served quickly ploughman style – on wooden boards where they can with the sides in tiny Le Creuset style dishes which clack onto the table when served.
To be honest I doubt there are better gastropubs in London. Sure there might be more adventurous menus, shorter waits and more comfortable chairs, but beautiful people in Range Rovers are like granite on a gold field – not a perfect indicator but certainly a clue that something interesting is going on.
The Grazing Goat
6 New Quebec Street, Marylebone, London.
Mon-Sat 7:20am-11pm. Sun 7:30pm-10:30pm