Applied Linguistics graduate and freelance writer. Visit my twitter: @heyclairemarie
Published October 16th 2012
From the outside, the Shakespeare pub appears warm and comforting. It looks like a traditional British pub, even using that most traditional of British icons, William Shakespeare, to further this image.
Ideally situated very close to Victoria station, the pub wins points by being the only one in the immediate area. This probably accounts for why it was so busy when we entered, meaning that we barely had space to breathe. If you are not one for visiting very hectic bars, then this is not the place to visit.
The eating area was very dark which makes it difficult to see the people you are dining with. The staff did light some candles on the tables, however, which gave the restaurant a pretty, romantic feel. We had been sitting at our table for forty minutes when we realised our food hadn't arrived. We weren't the only ones who waiting for our food however, as a glance around the eating area displayed to us a lot of annoyed- looking faces with people looking at their watches (well, this is from what we could see as we gazed through the gloom).
The food, when it arrived was, by far, the best thing about the pub. I ordered the Hunter's Chicken, a luscious blend of chicken and bacon smothered in cheese; it was sinfully enjoyable and made the whole trip worthwhile. Really, I would go back again just for that meal. However, the whole dinner proved to be expensive, a meal for four people added up to over £70. Ouch.
So besides the food, what could we said about the other features of the pub? When we arrived, we were told we had a 30 minute waiting period. When we asked if we could put our names down on the waiting list and then go off and have a drink, the waitress informed us she couldn't do this as she couldn't speak English. None of the waiting staff had a good grasp of English.
Once seated, the staff didn't really seem bothered with us. A low point came when some of our party took a trip to the toilets and were not allowed back to our seats when we returned, as the staff didn't believe that we were customers. It was embarrassing trying to explain to the waitress, that yes, another waitress had deemed us suitable to be part of the clientele. Wave goodbye to the tip.
And the toilets, well, I have never felt the urge to comment on the toilets of a place before in a review but these ones were vile. My cousin has a saying 'If you want to know what a restaurant is like, check out the toilets first'. What does that say about the Shakespeare?
So in conclusion, go for the food, the buzzing atmosphere and also if you like the idea of hanging out in an old English pub. Oh yeah and the proximity to Victoria tube station isn't half bad either. But apart from that, if you can find someplace better, make a trip to that place instead.