After a local suggestion, pub number 2 was the Lord’s Tavern (yes, NW8) restaurant, accompanied by Northern meeja lass @louise1wallis and new-to-London Danish girl, and hard-core burger fan, Lara.
Given the former’s tendency to check her phones every minute or so, I insisted on arriving that we play the phone game, whereby all phones are placed in a pile face-down in the centre of the table. Anyone caught checking theirs pays the bill at the end. I could visibly see sweat pouring down her face for the first 15 minutes or so, and she kept instinctively reaching for her bag. Soon after, conversation flowed, everyone was relaxed, and it was actually bloody lovely not to be slave to the vibrations and flashing. It almost felt quite naughty and decadent, like giving a big two fingers to the rest of the world, as we feasted on burgers and wine, and just enjoyed each other’s company.
So, the pub itself is lovely, clearly a bit of an undiscovered gem amongst most locals. As for the burgers? Very average, I’m sad to say. The girls’ were delivered fine, but as the waiter was placing mine down, the chips fell off the tiny platter board onto the floor and my suit jacket. As he got it onto the table, the burger then quite comically fell off as well. Mistakes happen. It was quickly replaced, and they’ve certainly not been marked down because of it (although the thin wooden platter really could do with a re-think. It’s the burger equivalent of trying to land a 747 at City airport).
Let’s start with the chips, as we all agreed: they were excellent (“cute little chip pan too!”). Unfortunately that’s all we can say as enquiries as to how they were made didn’t get very far, “Erm in a fryer? I’m not a good chef,” said the waiter. As for the burger itself: decent quality, tasted OK, lacked seasoning. Also, inconsistent. Despite not asking how we’d want them, mine arrived well done, Lara’s medium, and Louise’s medium rare (with blood soaking through to the bun, which was a big turn-off). The cheese (Westcombe cheddar) was sparse and wasn’t a great choice as it didn’t add much to the burger. They forgot the onion rings, which were alright, but very greasy. The girls lamented the lack of gherkins (I’m quite happy without), and Louise was most unimpressed with the ‘home-made relish’: “no, that’s just Heinz ketchup”.
Lara was left unsatisfied, wanting more. “It wouldn’t make a grown man full” she exclaimed, immediately after I’d said I was pretty full. I’m putting it down to language issues. The same could be said of a post-prandial game of Trivia. Understanding “What is Cilla Black’s real name” as “what is a silverback’s real name?”, she replied, quick as a flash, “a gorilla”. The girls’ laughter managed to silence the pub (as well as another misunderstanding around gherkins, which is most certainly not printable here).
I don’t want to come across too harsh on the Lord’s Tavern here, because it really is a nice pub, and I’ll definitely be back. (We were all also far too excited to discover genuine Molton Brown in the toilets). But we can safely say, even at this early stage, that they don’t serve the best burger in north west London.
(As a PS, if you’ve never played the phone game, please, do. Give it a try. It hurts, but it’s worth it.)
Guest reviewers, Louise and Lara: 6.5/10
Total: 6.5/10. Lovely pub, very average burger.