In A Word:
This bar suits pretty much anyone. I went on a Monday evening and it was very quiet – so if you are looking for a relaxed spot to have a nice dinner after a long walk around the area… or just after a long day at work, this might be your place.
On the other hand, if you are looking for an after work drink you can enjoy a buzzing atmosphere later in the week.
In a nutshell
Great atmosphere either for a cocktail or for a dinner, a good variety of food (from burgers to salads, from curries to Lobsters) and good value.
Tip: if you are hungry, don’t be shy, go for something big!
A one-minute walk from the stunning St Pauls is The Happenstance Bar, part of the ever-popular Drake & Morgan group, who also own The Anthologist and The Folly.
Inside you’ll find a long bar, with high tables in a kitsch style and a dining room in the back with an open kitchen.
The look is a bit of a mix of ‘vintage chemist laboratory’ and ‘bohemian and country house’ with floor-to-ceiling windows and modern furniture.
There are plenty of tables on the dining room area although the space between tables is very narrow, even for the waiter! So watch your jacket or bag.
The light at dinner time is faint, with candles providing most of the illumination and ensuring a relaxed atmosphere. This however doesn’t make it easy to look at the menu properly, which I have to say is full of interesting variety for all types of palate and diets.
Can I get you something to drink?
We all know the wine rules: red wine for meat and White for fish / seafood. [Ed: the rules are rendered null and void if the wine is good enough to break out of it’s food pairing]
I like to follow the rule most of the time but I must admit I have a weakness for red wine.
Jack recommended trying the Heitz Cellar Zinfandel [Ed: because it is fkn awesome] but unfortunately they’d run out of it so we instead had the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Samael [Ed: the most metal wine ever…actually no, THIS is the most metal wine ever]
France and Spain are the best regions for red wine [Ed: wat] but if I have to choose an Italian I definitely go for something from the Montepulciano area. Perhaps my expectations were very high but I found this wine just OK.
So, if you go to The Happenstance it might be best for you to try the Zinfandel instead (and if you do, please let me know how it is 😉
I felt like the Crispy duck & noodle salad as a starter (yes, I was hungry…) but the waiter suggested the salad and the Lobster would be too much food (wrong). Hmm….Ok…
In that case, I will have the Whole Scottish Lobster as a main course…!
(and I do…)
MainSome sauces/butters modify the flavor of the food too much but in this case it was a tasty but soft butter with a touch of lemon.
As we all know, a lobster is usually hard work and kinda messy to eat; however this particular one didn’t put up much resistance – making the moment quite pleasant.
It was easy to extract the meat from the lobster and the colour seemed to indicate that it was well cooked and fresh. The lobster itself was served on a large wooden block, something I liked – until now I’ve only seen wooden blocks used for steaks – and not for fish/seafood.
What I really missed with this dish it was a proper side, as it came on its own. I asked the waiter what would be best for a lobster and he suggested chips. Well, I wouldn’t say it is the best side for a lobster, but everyone loves chips so how could I say no?
When I finished the meal I was still a bit hungry (and here is when I thought “I wish I had that starter…”) but as I am almost always too full for a last course, so this was the perfect occasion to (finally) enjoy a good dessert!
Chocolate …I mean, dessert
My option was standard but delicious; I went for the chocolate Brownie with vanilla ice cream and served with raspberry
As a brownie lover, I really recommend this moist thing, it is not dry like most brownies… but spongy. Simply fantastic.
A good dinner on a chic-posh environment, and good value too. I still regret I didn’t have a starter or another side to complete a good main. I would definitely come back to try the steaks and burgers.
The Happenstance is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is open seven days a week, so this wouldn’t be too hard!
A: 1 Ludgate Hill, London EC4M 7AA
H: Mon – Fri: 07:30 – 00:00 | Sat: 10:00 – 00:00 | Sun: 10:00 – 18:00
T: 0845 468 0104