A Scotch Egg at the Princess Victoria in Shepherd’s Bush

In the London episode of his Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain has a Scotch Egg with Nigella Lawson at the Princess Victoria pub in Shepherd’s Bush. So on a trip to London with my mom, we also had a Scotch Egg at the Princess Victoria in Shepherd’s Bush. Actually, we had booked a Louis CK show at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith later that evening, so an early pre-theater dinner here fit nicely into our schedule.

The Princess Victoria will go down for me as one of the most beautiful public houses I have ever visited. Situated on busy Uxbridge Road, the place was first established as a gin palace in 1829 and became popular with commuters as a place to grab a quick drink on the way home. It was kind of rowdy until gentrification creeped in in the early 2000’s and has since then been completely refurbished and restored to its former glory. We passed through the doors of the grand red-brick Victorian and found ourselves in a spatious place with warm parquet floors, large windows, antique fireplaces and gorgeous mouldings all throughout. In the center of the ceiling is a magnificent round skylight decked out in intricate cornices, pouring light in from above like a sort of halo over the elegant horseshoe-shaped bar, which is lined with 30 or 40 hand-pumps. Old school. Wooden tables and leather banquettes line the edges of the dining room and the walls are decorated by framed antique lithographs of birds, insects, crabs and the like. Love the vibe that some tastefully integrated taxodermy can lend to a place.

It’s the kind of atmosphere that makes you crave a pint as soon as you walk in. We got two of those and ordered some nibbles, among which a Scotch Egg and a smoked mackerel salad.

If you know me at all, you know I love a Scotch Egg. I order it every chance I get. I’ve been to the UK three times in the past 6 months and had a total of six of them, all at different pubs. This one was good. The sausage meat was juicy and moist, the egg yolk was oozin’ and gooey, the breadcrumb crust was pleasantly gritty and crunchy, fried to a healthy golden brown hue. It was served with a geneorus pool of Coronation mayonnaise, creamy and seasoned with just the right amount of curry.

The cool filets of oily smoked mackerel were served on a bed of crunchy, creamy coleslaw, which was decorated with pretty microgreens. Some tartar sauce piped on here and there added a zesty bit of flavor. The fish was delicious, not too salty, slipping into smooth slivers of flesh when bitten into. Its smoky flavors went nicely with the celery and mustard in the slaw, a flavorful ensemble that went perfectly with our beer.

Two simple snacks that hit the spot perfectly, enjoyed in a place with a palpable history and plenty of good vibes.

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