“ Address: 1 Blackfriars Bridge / London / SE1 9UD England „
For those of you who usually read my reviews, no, I haven't exhausted the restaurants of Southsea by any means yet, but I was tempted up to London for the day by the double attraction of Francis Bacon at Tate Britain and Mark Rothko at Tate Modern. Huge servings of culture that required a break in between for sustenance, to cleanse the palette if you will pardon the pun.
Doggett's is my favourite eating place when visiting Tate Modern: the restaurant at the gallery itself is on the pricey side, and with special exhibition tickets now at £12.50 and train fares ever on the rise, the food budget can be but a modest one. Doggett's is only a few minutes' walk from the Tate, by Blackfriars Bridge, and the fresh air was welcome after a stuffy (but very worthwhile) hour spent in Tate Britain. On this particular Saturday we arrived at Doggett's at around 5.30pm, and my impression on entering was one of crowds and noise. We ploughed through to the back of the ground floor and found that there was in fact a choice of two tables where the three of us could sit. We picked the one near the kitchen door, for no particular reason. It was a good-sized table that could easily seat four people, reasonably clean but not completely spotless.
I soon spied a drinks menu over on a shelf by a fruit machine, but the food menu took a little more tracking down. Pies are something of a speciality at Doggett's, and these were listed on a large board that I could easily see from where I was sitting. There certainly was something to suit every taste, ranging from steak and ale to woodland mushroom, or from shepherd's to fish pie. My son decided to try out the game pie, whilst his partner and I both hovered between sausage and mash and fish, chips and mushy peas. In the end we both went for fish and chips: the regular size we ordered was £6.95, but there was also the option of a large serving at £9.95. Ales and soft drinks are available in good variety, and I picked an apple juice that was specified as being made from good old British Coxes. In all we paid just under £30 for three main meals, two bottles of apple juice and a pint of Guinness. This seems quite amazing for central London.
We were desperate for our drinks and were glad of a little time to enjoy them, but we must have waited around three quarters of an hour for our food to arrive. We sat chatting and people-watching. All kinds of people seem to frequent Doggett's, some with young children just dashing in for a meal, others there for a good few rounds of drinks. Almost as soon as a table was vacated, another group or couple would instinctively know and seat themselves there.
When the food did eventually come, we were glad we had stuck to the regular-sized fish and chips - I dread to think how large the super-size portion would be. The fish was served on top of the chips, which were of the chunky variety, and to the side were the mushy peas and a generous serving of rather runny tartare sauce. Bottled of tomato ketchup and vinegar, as well as other condiments, had been provided on the table. My son's game pie was an individual one served with mash, carrots, green beans and cabbage. We were all perfectly happy with the quality of the food; I could have done with slightly less tartare sauce and fewer chips if anything, but that is not really a complaint as I have a fairly small appetite. My son left a little of his cabbage, and it was very noticeable that as soon as he put his knife and fork down a waiter whipped the plate from under his nose. Soon after that his partner had an empty plate and the waiter pounced on it at once, asking 'Finished?' as he grabbed it, to which the answer was, 'Yes, just about!' I expected the same thing to happen when I gave up on my chips and put down my knife and fork, but a couple of minutes passed before a waitress came and took my plate. Perhaps the waiter had been allowing time for me to eat all the chips, as he soon put his head expectantly round the kitchen door and looked most dismayed to find that someone had beaten him to it. I began to wonder if they were paid commission for each plate they returned to the kitchen.
We were all too full by then to even think about ordering a pudding and were itching to go and see the Rothko exhibition at Tate Modern, so off we went. If you are hankering after a dessert, however, these are again very reasonably priced at £3.65 and include such delights as chocolate fudge cake, banana caramel sundae and apple and rhubarb crumble. Ice-cream is a mere £2.65.
If you can't put up with the background music and football on TV, for fine weather there is a heated terrace as well as a number of outside tables at the front of the pub, overlooking the Thames. This would have been delightful, but it was just a little too chilly as the sun was going down on an October day.
Food is served at Doggett's until 10.30pm every day, starting with cooked breakfast (until noon) for £4.95, with which you can choose a free hot drink. There is a Sunday roast for £7.95; the most expensive meal I could see on the menu was a rib-eye steak for £9.95. Vegetarians are quite well catered for with risotto, pasta and savoury tarts. The full menu can be viewed at the website. Whether you are visiting Tate Modern, the Globe Theatre, the British Film Institute or the Royal Festival Hall and not wanting to spend a fortune on a meal out, Doggett's is just a few minutes' walk away.
Doggett's Coat and Badge
Tel. 020 7633 9081
Also posted on Ciao under my username, denella.
Come for a relaxing drink and great view of the south bank river. The view of The River, The City, St Pauls and beyond is stunning.