Saturday, November 24, 2007


I am not going to beat around the bush on this one, Porters is not a great restaurant. In fact it is not even a good restaurant being closer to what one might charitably describe as serviceable. It is essentially a tourist trap, going so far as to offer package deals which include dinner and tickets for a cruise of the Thames or a trip on the London eye or other such touristic activity. However, for this ex pat living in the States and looking for a quick bite of both nostalgia and grub Porters filled a needed void in a sea of fast food joints that populate the Covent Garden area. In my defense I did laughably try to get into Rules, London's oldest restaurant which is situated just around the corner on Maiden Lane but unsurprisingly it was full up. It mattered not for I had a reservation at Rules two night later anyway. So I ended up at Porters, a restaurant that I would never plan on eating at.

Unfortunately Porters does not serve draft beer, let alone hand drawn ales, as you would hope that a restaurant that claims to be a "specialist" in English food would. Even pubs in Soho serve proper ales these days. Not that St. Peters is bad but it can be easily obtainable in NYC.

Steak and kidney Pudding

The steak and kidney pudding is not going to win any culinary awards and at almost 12 pounds it is certainly not cheap but it did provide me with some comfort and joy. Just to be able to find a pudding on a menu is increasingly rare in London these days so even an average incarnation will suffice. The beef was actually quite moist and tender although the kidneys lacked that earthy flavor they can impart.

The sticky toffee pudding was actually quite tasty but the custard tasted as if it was made from a packet. And thats the real problem here, the food just seems like it is ready made and served from steam tables. The service was surprisingly bubbly considering how drab and depressing the decor is. Porters sufficed in a pinch but I would not recommend that you make it a deliberate dining destination.

17 Henrietta St.
London, United Kingdom
020-7836 6466


neil said...

As much as I love a steak and kidney pudding (and god knows its been a while since I've had one) but that looks suspiciously like the ones Tesco sell that I complain to my mother for buying when I return home. Such a shame as she makes a wonderful steak and kidney pudding from scratch too.

DocChuck said...

Well, I didn't find Porters to be nearly as bad as you described. However, after flying into Heathrow airport (the WORST fiasco in the world) that morning, I guess that McDonald's would have tasted good to me.

I guess that I would agree with "It is essentially a tourist trap ... ", but then, in my opinion EVERYTHING in London is a "tourist trap."

Frankly, I didn't enjoy any REALLY good food in the UK until I arrived in Killarney (Foley's Restaurant was memorable . . . BUT 250.00 USD for a lobster dinner for two??)

I have added London and Heathrow airport to my list of places to AVOID AT ALL COSTS, which also includes NYC.