Posh pub downstairs, even posher restaurant upstairs at Gordon Ramsay's The Warrington
IT MAY BE “the local” for the lucky folk who happen to call Maida Vale home, but The Warrington Pub & Restaurant is about as far removed from The Queen Vic as Phil Mitchell is from winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Instead, there’s a rather grand feeling of opulence in the pub with deep dark colours – rich burgundies on carpets and Chippendale-style leather sofas, a warm golden glow from glass lights and stained glass windows that gives a hint of a Wild West saloon meets Cheers. There were plenty of families dining downstairs in the pub – a perfect place to enjoy a more rowdy family gathering, without the risk of upsetting diners who prefer something a little more sedate. The pub also has a newly refurbished outside area with a relaxed and leafy space where children can run around to their heart’s content. They also put on Barbeques (weather depending), where the whole family can try the famous Warrington Burger.
Today we decided to make our way up the sweeping staircase that leads to The Restaurant Upstairs, a chic light and airy space. After a recent restaurant debacle with my five-year-old, this was something of a test case for us. Armed with a bag of tricks to entertain and some gutsy determination to have a pleasant time, I was going to make every effort to get through our meal with no tantrums.
With a wipeboard on the table and a game of Noughts & Crosses already in progress, we ordered. “Would you like Joe’s meal at the same time as your starters,” asked the waitress, already on first-name terms. As we settled into a game of Snap (with me curbing my competitive streak to keep the peace), the adults enjoyed starters of Richard Woodall smoked ham with soft quail eggs, violet artichokes and sorrel, and Beetroot salad with goat’s curd, Joe tucked into a child-size portion of Roast Beef (they were more than happy to accomodate his request for an extra Yorkshire pud and gravy on the side) with a handsome accompaniment of vegetables: peas, carrots, cauliflower, and red cabbage. We opted for Roast Beef (succulent and pink, but too rare for Joe’s taste) and a delicious Corn Fed Chicken.
By now, we were on the Knock Knock jokes and all having a laugh. There was a slightly wobbly moment when Joe discovered there was no strawberry ice-cream, but he settled for Raspberry Ripple and stole the vanilla icecream that came with my Chocolate Brownie. By the time coffee was served, I was busy making origami airplanes (the waitress said she'd join us if we were making swan napkins).
We left feeling in high spirits, though I admit I’d found the job of non-stop entertainer a little exhausting, but so worth the effort. And a funny thing happened just as we were leaving: one of the waiters took some colouring-in sheets and crayons out of the cupboard and gave them to him. Kind of funny, you might think, since presumably these are designed for in-house entertainment at family meals, but I took it as a compliment that we’d actually arrived pretty much self-sufficent! We departed happily with the words of the manager ringing in my ears: ”I wish all children were as well-behaved…” And those are the sorts of compliments that I am happy to take when they come!
The Warrington, 93 Warrington Crescent, LONDON W9 1EH.Tel: 020 7592 7960. Open daily; Saturday and Sunday lunch from 12–3pm. Tube: Maida Vale, Warwick Avenue