The Competent Cod
Tucked away off Draycott Avenue, The Admiral Codrington is a comfortable, hearty establishment
Review by Rupert Watkins
In an era of Uber and Deliveroo, it sometimes feels as if people have given up on eating out. The ease and speed of ordering from home trumps heading out the door. That all said, sometimes when you eat out, you just crave comfort food, simplicity; no starched tablecloths and seven course tasting menus, just damn solid grub.
Tucked away just off Draycott Avenue in deepest Chelsea, The Admiral Codrington remains a rather traditional wooden panelled London pub. The bar was buzzy even mid-week; it is a welcome stop off if the more achingly cool eateries and bars nearby aren’t quite your thing. Being shown round the corner from the main bar into the small restaurant we took our seats and perused the menu.
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Good, solid and very competently served pub grub is the order of the day here. I personally think the idea of the “gastropub” has had its day – it did what is needed to do in the 1990s and early 2000s when it dramatically raised the standard of food served and altered people’s expectations of what to expect in a pub meal. At The Admiral Codrington, all the now expected and looked for comfort dishes report for duty; a good quality burger, freshly battered fish and chips, rib eye steak and pork belly alongside one of two slightly different offerings such as tuna tartare and a game terrine.
My guest and I opted for those two starters, the tuna proving fresh with the coriander and chilli providing nice piquancy without overwhelming the fish. My terrine was hearty, a decent slab of minced game with a sweet pepper sauce that enhanced the gamey flavours. As we’d opted for differing mains, we’d gone for wine by the glass, a 2016 Languedoc Baron de Badassiere for my guest and a 2015 Domaine de Saissac for me. Both were solid, easy and relaxing drinking.
Given the hearty and comforting surroundings, we opted for similarly familiar fayre alighting on the rib eye steak with mushroom butter and the beer-battered haddock and chips. I am a late comer to the joys of steak and, though I would not say I am a connoisseur, the rib eye at the Admiral Codrington was tender, succulent and cooked to my medium rare liking. My guest found her fish fresh – importantly she felt the batter was freshly made and tasty. For simple comfort food, chips are an important and moreish constituent, both my fries and my guest’s chips were plentiful and crunchy.
Starting to feel full, we glanced over the dessert menu and decided to go for it. My guest’s cheese tray was simple; an English blue, hard and soft cheese. Easy you might say, but so often a let down to an otherwise competent meal. At the Admiral Codrington, the cheeses were mature, full of flavour and served with plenty of condiments. My sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce was hot, weighty and sticky. Simple but in the middle of winter, you don’t need fancy desserts.
Given the area and the other dining options very close by – from Daphne’s to Bibendum – The Admiral Codrington will always be that safe haven, that comfort blanket to grab a pint and some sound scoff. And in that role, it’s certainly worth knowing.
Enquiries: The Admiral Codrington, 17 Mossop Street, Chelsea, London SW3 2LY / 0207 5810005 / www.theadmiralcodrington.co.uk/