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Other British touches are campy. There’s a bust of the Queen Vic herself perched on the bar, British Invasion-era tunes blasting and an ATM housed in a red-painted closet that mimics the iconic crimson phone booths of London. A “wall of crap” along the upstairs bar invites customers to tack up their best U.K. regalia, and some have complied. There’s a portrait of the bar’s eponymous queen from the gang at the Pug, and Wonderland bar in Petworth donated a framed postcard of Big Ben.
The menu features British standards such as fish and chips, bangers and mash, and steak and ale pie. Curry dishes are a nod to the Indian influences in British cookery. But this isn’t the sad, bland pub fare that gave England a bad culinary rap for centuries.
The aforementioned charcuterie plate is an example of Gordon and Stein’s commitment to keeping everything house-made: Vegetables and onions are pickled in-house, foie gras is poached in apple whiskey and headcheese is slow-simmered. Even the mustard is chef-crafted: Stein soaks mustard seeds in Guinness and Newcastle beers, then purees them with vinegar for a tangy condiment that’s a far cry from the standard school-bus-yellow offering.
Such attention to detail extends to the rich “tomato jam” that subs for pedestrian ketchup and the hamburger buns, which are baked in-house.
And despite the cheffy provenance, prices are reasonable. A heaping platter of fish and chips (with a side of oh-so-British mushy peas) is $11, and the sharable charcuterie platter is $25.
For now, the Queen Vic is serving dinner only, but Gordon plans to soon offer a weekend brunch and a “Sunday roast” dinner. A small upstairs patio will expand the number of seats to about 120 this spring.
All the more room, patrons may find, to go whole hog.