Everyone likes easy choices. They make life, well, fundamentally easier. Think about ITV2’s weekend-ly Harry Potter strategy: a no brainer for families and the hopelessly hungover alike. Or how about that cold pizza in the fridge: it’s an always welcome canapé before every meal. These are all straightforward decisions. And that’s exactly what you have at the Holborn Dining Room. Because the only thing you should do here is eat pie.
The only question is what pie? Or rather, what pies? Because restricting yourself to a single number here would be really quite irrational. These pies are special, regal-looking, things. They’re forged crowns of butter, pastry, and filling. We know it sounds a bit much, but these are handsdown the best pastry-filled things you can get in London.
We recommend ordering en masse, just so they arrive at your table on a pie-chair, all golden and glistening, like precocious young monarchs who were born to sit in glitzy, red leather-filled dining rooms. Each is drool-worthy in its own way. For example the chicken and tarragon is creamy and comforting. Like all of them, it’s just the right amount of pretty to admire before stuffing in your face. Meanwhile the steak and kidney pudding tastes like an aspirational and wholly convincing argument for gout. Then there’s the vegetarian option: a potato, comté, and caramelised onion beauty. It’s yet another advert for the most consistently satisfying food group of them all: the beige.
One of the best things about the Holborn Dining Room is that you can get these babies to go. The pie room has an outside window that means you don’t even have to enter the faux-glamorous room, but although the grab-and-go is convenient and less expensive, you need to sit in if you want your pies made to order. And we’d definitely recommend doing that. Especially if you’ve got an hour to kill and a hungry accomplice by your side.
Apart from the £20-ish pies, the menu offers a vast array of spruced up British classics. But considering an okay cheeseburger with truffle chips is £24, and a full English where you can see more plate than food - a criminal offence in our eyes - is £18, you simply have no business being at the Holborn Dining Room if doesn’t involve you know what. And considering there’s only five of them, that makes for a pretty easy choice.
This pie and pea puree is as beige and green as a labrador napping on the grass. And it almost makes us smile as much.
As a rule, puddings should always be happily lazing in a pool of something delicious. Savoury ones are no different, and the gravy this steak pudding sits in is smoother than Ryan Gosling on a slip ‘n’ slide.
This is the phrase ‘you do you’ in pastry-form. It’s lying on the sofa in your own filth with only Maltesers for company. It’s drinking in the bath. It’s getting up at midday. It’s fantastic.
A curried mutton sounds a bit like what an old fella would refer to himself as after a few too many pints of bitter. In this case though, it’s a lovely pie with a curry sauce and fresh mango.
A friend of ours regularly walks around with a pork pie in his pocket to snack on throughout the day. We couldn’t do that with this one because a) it tastes so good, and b) we don’t want a pocket full of gravy.
This tastes like Gregg went to finishing school and turned out very, very well.