I like this place so much I went twice in two weeks. Seriously. Not just because it’s a convenient location, near to my work, it’s also awesome. Part of the group of Drake and Morgan restaurants, a small handful of lovely one-off restaurants scattered across EC1 and SE1 (sidebar: try the Refinery near Southwark, the food there is also delicious), it’s a lovely candlelit, herbs-in-pots-on-tables covered restaurant located on Ludgate Hill, in view of St Paul’s. Popular with young City types (but you’ll be pleased to know, not banker wankers) and full of squishy comfy chairs and arty wall-ornaments, this is a perfectly chilled place to come on a Tuesday night.
Currently, the Happenstance menu is a mixture of English favourites, some Mediterranean influences, and some good old burgers and steak – there’s also a delicious brunch menu for when you’re hung over but still feeling a bit posh. In general, the menu pricing is at the higher end of moderate, unless you’re a big lobster fan (in which case you have expensive taste anyway) – but most people throughout are currently taking advantage of a rather amazing steak and lobster deal. This deal is so good that I’ve had whenever I’ve visited. For a modest price (£15), you get a 4oz rump steak, half a lobster, fries, salad and a glass of prosecco. This is not only ridiculously good value, but it’s fairly versatile – dinner with colleagues or friends, a date, a celebration, this truly is a meal deal for all seasons.The fabulous steak and lobster combination was served on a large wooden block, a quite cool alternative to a plate (although I’d be lying if I said my hypochondriac self wasn’t worried about splinters). The steak is perfectly cooked to order, although in my humble opinion it could be a bit larger as there’s not a lot of it.
The lobster is fab but requires a lot of work for not a lot of meat (this is true for most lobster dishes though). Great chips, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside; the Happenstance does a great array of fries, which you can substitute your normal fries for if you so choose – I recommend the ‘Roman fries’, with parmesan, rosemary and truffle oil. My friend had the ‘Cowboy fries’, with katsu curry sauce – also amazing. The prosecco isn’t too bad either, a decent sized glass for your money. If you fancy steak sauce, there’s a range of options. The sauces are slightly thin in texture but all are delicious; I can particularly recommend the blue cheese sauce.
Dessert is good too – the flour-less chocolate brownie is absolutely fantastic, rich and moist and once you’ve finished it, you’ll think “screw you, flour”. Simply fantastic.
The atmosphere is great, the staff are very friendly and efficient and the food is lovely. A must if you like your meat. Or fish. Or any food, really…
No.1a Ludgate Hill, London EC4M 7AA
Opening hours: monday to friday 7.30am to late, saturday 10am to late, sunday 10am to 6pm
Telephone: 0845 468 0104