“ 3 BRANCHES: 52 Fulham Rd, Chelsea, SW3 6HH. Tel: +44 (0)20 7581 0025. 30 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7BD. Tel: +44 (0)20 7240 7529. 82 Hampstead High Street, Hampstead, NW3 1RE. Tel: +44 (0)20 7435 3608. „
I can only speak of the Fulham Rd branch, which I go to fairly regularly. I find it a "practical" place...a casual but sophisticated atmosphere without any of the pretentiousness which can be encountered in so many places fitting this description. I don't really go there for the food (I can think of various places with better food at lower prices). What wins me over with PJ's is that it has a coffee-shop/bar feel which makes it a wonderful place to get together with people and get a good banter going without having to worry about waiters eagerly awaiting for you to leave so the next customers can come in. It is a place to relax and my particular favourite occasion to come her is on a Saturday or Sunday for a good brunch around noon...hmmm. Whether it is on my own to sit at the bar with a paper, a coffee and a couple of pancakes, or to have a full-blown "brunch with friends" involving mimosas, bloody marys and eggs benedicts. It is especially good, when the sun is out and you can sit outside...watching and being watched by passers-by strolling around the streets of London. The menu is not extensive, but it does cover a broad range of things, from brasserie-style meats, to Chinese crispy duck pancakes (another favourite of mine). Price-wise...it doesn't kill the bank, but don't expect to spend less than £15...even if it is just a coffee, an orange juice (freshly squeezed I might add) and a couple of pieces of toast. I have spoken of it as a "relaxed" place...but PJ's does tranform at night! If you go there for dinner, it will have a livelier feel as it is frequented by a bar-going clientele...so by day: more like a coffee shop, by night, more like a bar...but eat at any time!! It's fun and a great place for socialising, mingling, and yes, people-watching, as the kind of crowd it attracts are the hipe, good-looking people of London.
PJ's in Covent Garden is a hangout for thesps from all the nearby shows. The bar and walls are lined with plaques naming the regulars who have frequented the bar in days gone by. It gets very busy at the weekends in the evening with pre and post theatre crowds. They do a good pre-theatre deal with 2 courses at about £8.00. The food is American fused with Pacific region. It is usually well prepared although occasionally some things can be overdone when they are very busy. The bar is good and the service is usually slick although occasionally they can be overstretched. Overall, they are friendly and ready to please. There are also complimentary tortilla chips and salsa in the evenings to have with your drinks at the bar. It's moderately priced although the drinks are quite expensive especially if you are a teetotaller.