In A Word
The Literati (when they’re hungry)
Bookworms and lovers of literature
People seeking a fun, not too serious dining experience that’s not in an area you’d traditionally associate with ‘innovative’ dining.
Hungry people on the Holborn Viaduct (what else is on the Holborn Viaduct?)
Steak fans (seriously, they do a steak that rivals the best of London’s steakhouses)
People who want an atmosphere that’s exactly 77% restaurant, 18% club and 5% library
And now I shall tell you a fable…
Just kidding – I actually went to The Fable. See what I did there? No – OK then…
It’s not hard to find something to say about The Fable. A mini temple to classic literature, unashamedly kitsch, probably meant to evoke feelings of getting lost in the plot of a fairytale book, or something similar, it’s decor is memorable to say the least. The names of literary legends adorn the walls and you will find many unexpected curiosities on every floor. Walking around and taking it all in is an enjoyable experience.
I’ll admit that initially I was expecting something that focused more on style over substance (as in ‘wow that’s some crazy decor but some average food’) – boy was I surprised! The theatrical, playful design of Drake and Morgan’s seventh property does not at all detract from the fact that they’ve put a lot of work into the food and drink, and it shows…
Entering The Fable your first impressions might be that this place is doing pretty well. By the entrance, people are packed densely and the place is abuzz with activity and noise. The music is medium loud – 50% of the way to club levels, but not so high that you can’t talk. Outside, people are queuing to get in. There are precious few spare tables in the restaurant area, and all around you see people, laughing and frolicking in the magical environment of The Fable…
We were seated at a table for 4, which gave us plenty of space to fill our table up with food – since it was amply filled already with pot plants and stuff I can’t recall…
Staff are friendly, foreign, and wear suspenders and trainers as part of the uniform. Our waitress was a woman of mysterious national origin (she wouldn’t tell us – ooooooo suspense) who, in a first for Tasting Britain, actually took my camera (after asking permission, of course) and took a picture of me, looking confused.
Located in a strange spot, the slick, corporate exterior to The Fable is at odds with the more…homely(?) fairytale decor I alluded to earlier. I actually walked past it, mistaking it for an office building. It’s not really in the best spot, basically on what feels like a road that is devoid of everything barring cars , as oppose to the kind of cosy enclave you might expect a place with The Fable’s aesthetics to occupy. I suppose that creates the type of contrast with these surroundings that creates such an impact when you first step inside.
The manager (complete with secret service style earpiece) eventually appeared and gave us a little backstory on the Fable, which I pass onto you…
They’ve only been there since February of 2014 and she confided in us ‘we don’t know what we are yet’. This identity crisis doesn’t seem to have stopped them at all. Each of Drake And Morgan’s properties has a different theme, though the food is consistent, no matter which you visit. The design differs however, and for this The Fable was carried out by friends of the owner, Jillian – who I am informed is very charismatic and is someone worth meeting.
The drinks selection is also better than expected, and by my massively skewed take on the world of viticulture – is also goddamn awesome. Items of note include a cocktail menu divided into ‘selections’, along with a good but not all encompassing selection of wines, grouped by the their heaviness (we picked a mighty fine Heitz Cellar Zinfandel which did the job nicely).
So, how about that food then?
I’ll say it again, the food is good. The steak I’d later order rivalled that of London’s finest steakhouses, and the portions for everything were particularly generous and filling. Neither of us could do far a dessert, so here’s a slightly smaller commentary on food than we’re normally used to.
I must also say that my +1, Tom, noticed a stain on his plate before he got his starter. This isn’t something that particularly bothered either of us, but as a reviewer I am obliged to tell you, of course! I assume these things are always worth a double check.
Côte de boeuf, 14oz
Resisting the urge to order the porterhouse for two (for myself) I went for this. It was truly an incredible thing. I can legitimately use the word unctuous to describe it (actually I can’t but I will use this stupid word anyway). So unctuous that I couldn’t finish the chips. It needed nothing apart from the leafy greens and solitary tomato/mushroom it was served with. How to describe a great steak? I can’t – you have to taste it for yourself…
Steak ‘n Fries, 8oz
Tom, my +1, picked this one. I didn’t try any- I assume that it was at least OK, but probably better.
A recent addition to their summer menu, the Superfood Salad brings all the healthy fats to one place and then helps you eat them. ‘leading’ with weighty slabs of avocado, feta cheese (which, though delicious, is surely not a superfood!), peas, broccoli and other some other leafy veg. Also some quinoa, which is usually shit and bland. They made it taste excellent – I assume by it’s proximity to all the avocado and good stuff that lives in said salad. Hearty, rich and delicious – which is I assume how most women see George Clooney.
Well, if all of Drake & Morgan’s properties serve the same menu, I would like to visit all 7 of them, trying as much on the menu and comparing how individual chef interpretations, the decor and the alignment of the planets affect how my dining experience goes.
I didn’t spend any time at the bar so I can’t say anything on that but I really recommend this place for a meal. Do you fancy a bookworm? Are you in a relationship with one? Take them here to the table of books and have yourself a simultaneously ironic, romantic and delicious time.
Now also seems like a good time to quote Algernon‘s thoughts on eating in Oscar Wilde‘s The Importance Of Being Earnest
“…yes, but you must be serious about it. I hate people who are not serious about meals. It is so shallow of them.”
Thankyou, Drake and Morgan!