Reviewed by Ruman
What is more important in a restaurant – atmosphere or food quality? This is a debate we had to have when visiting Drunch’s second London site in St John’s Wood. Our experience wasn’t as great as we had hoped. Can a restaurant be saved by the quality of its food?
Drunch is a cozy yet large restaurant near Regent’s Park. We arrived just after midday on a Thursday and admittedly, we weren’t sure if it was actually open. We poked our head through a small gate that was open and asked the waitress if we could come through (this gate was open fully later). The St John’s Wood branch resembles the Mayfair site with similar interior design.
Unfortunately, the restaurant had a strong smell of cigarettes because the waitress who had greeted us at the gate had been smoking outside with the main door for the restaurant open. Though this may be expected given Drunch has an outdoor smoking area, coughing our way in to the restaurant wasn’t a great start to our dining experience!
Just like its Mayfair site, Drunch Regent’s Park offers Alfresco dining with shisha also served. Though we visited on a cold winters day, I can imagine the outdoor area would be quite nice in the summer and not awful in the winter either given the seating is covered and there are plenty of heaters around.
We asked the waitress about the special of the day and after heading to the back to the kitchen, she came out to inform us that there wasn’t one (or they had not decided on one yet) for the day. Instead we opted for a few dishes from the menu, starting with the Chicken Croquettes. These were roasted chicken and potatoes crumbed, fried and served with chilli mayo. Crunchy on the outside and soft inside, this was great as a starter and the chilli mayo was the perfect flavour complement for the chicken croquettes.
The waitress recommended we try the Super Fly Sky High mocktail which Zohra and I both really enjoyed. The menu doesn’t list any non-alcoholic cocktails but we were told they could make similar drinks to those on the cocktail menu without the booze. We normally avoid mocktails in restaurants but our experience here was similar to what he had experienced at The Great Chase where we were pleasantly surprised at the interesting drinks available. The Super Fly Sky High mocktail was a blackberry, vanilla and passionfruit drink dressed with candy floss. The drink had a slight tang from the passionfruit with subtle hints of vanilla coming through.
It should be noted as we come on to the mains that at this point we had been in the restaurant for almost 40 minutes yet no music had been switched on. The place was pretty quiet and devoid of any ambience or lunch time vibe. We’re not sure if they had simply forgotten to put something on but we were surprised that it took so long for the staff to notice.
Moving on, the first main to come out was the Drunch Beef Burger. Served on toasted brioche with a side of chips, this was a really good burger. The patty had been cooked medium which meant it had retained its flavour and juiciness. It tasted fantastic. The only downside of the burger was that as time passed, the brioche on the bottom got quite soggy. Nonetheless, it was a much better burger than one I had previously had at the Mayfair branch, and one that we’d recommend.
Another drink we tried was the Virgin Mojito. Just like the Super Fly Sky High, this drink was not a super sweet mocktail and packed a good punch.
Zohra ordered the Grilled Sirloin Steak as her main. This was served with portobello mushrooms, grilled tomato, chips and bernaise sauce. The steak was cooked to her liking though nothing really stood out about it.
The moment I spotted the Nutella and milk chocolate doughnuts on the menu, I knew what I would be having for dessert. Served with a toffee sauce, these were small doughnut balls which had been filled with chocolate. They had quite a chewy texture and I’m not sure I liked that.
We also ordered the no bake Salted Caramel and Popcorn Cheesecake which had a softer texture than expected (I assume it had been left out of the fridge for a short while). Zohra mentioned that she appreciated the fact that it wasn’t a cold, hard cheesecake and she liked the softness of the cream cheese with the crunch of the biscuit base. The only thing that let the dessert down was the popcorn on top which tasted like it had come out of a packet and had aired out before it got to our table.
Overall, the lack of music and smell of cigarettes really let down the restaurant. Though the food was good overall, it wasn’t anything particularly unique or amazing which left us thinking it was slightly overpriced. The service was friendly and actually quite good overall though a few small things like the waitress not giving us clean cutlery between our starter and mains (and moving dirty cutlery on to our table instead) meant it did not match our expectations.
Value for money: 6.5/10 (£79.91 total bill including 12% service charge // £39.96pp – we received a complimentary meal)
Halal Status: All meat served is halal. Alcohol is served.
Address: 38 St John’s Wood Terrace, London, NW8 6LS
Nearest station: St John’s Wood (Jubilee line)
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Ruman eats a brownie a day, but only with coffee. She struggles to eat more than 2/3 of an adult size portion of food, but always has room for dessert. When not exploring restaurants, galleries or cities around the world, Ruman is a Marketing Ninja at Halal Gems, where she also holds the title of Chief Chocolate Officer.
Forever consumed by a mixture of wanderlust and FOMO, her interests include all things social media, travel, charity, photography and food.
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Reviewed by Ruman