I was invited to try out The Pickled Hen, a new gastropub attached to the Marriot Hotel, not too far from Marble Street tube. Never one to refuse food, the hubster and I needed no excuse to get a long overdue date night booked in. Looking up the menu before we went, it was a lot more meaty than I’d normally go for, but I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the chicken scratchings (I LOVE pork scratchings but don’t eat pig anymore) and their interestingly named starter, The Chicken and the Egg.
The Pickled Hen is situated on the end of George Street and whilst I was initially told it was in Marylebone, I’d say that it’s very much on the outskirts of Marylebone as I know it. The area is bustling on a Friday night and as you walk from Marble Arch, there’s the hustle and bustle of shoppers and a buzz of people there for the shisha cafes and Middle Eastern restaurants. The Pickled Hen is off the main street and the relative calm once inside is welcome. Modern and spacious, with a slight industrial design feel, the Pickled Hen is a long restaurant with one windowed wall looking out to the street.
The menu is an eclectic mix of inventive dishes and your comforting staples. Despite the name, it’s not an upmarket Nando’s – chicken features on the menu but is by no means the main ingredients in dishes. Instead, the mains are what you’d expect from usual gastropub fare, including fish and chips, lamb pie and chicken tikka masala. I found the shareables and the starters more interesting, however, and it was hard to choose between items including ‘frickles’ (buttermilk squid), scallops with Dorset Crab and The Chicken and the Egg. In the end, we decided upon chicken scratchings, garlic prawns (as recommended by our attentive waitress) and The Chicken and the Egg. The scratchings appeared first and these were a fried food fan’s wet dream! Greasy and crisp, I really enjoyed them but they were too fatty for my husband. The Chicken and the Egg was a fun dish consisting of a breadcrumb coated soft boiled egg with shredded chicken on peas. The prawns were tasty but not unusual and I wished I’d gone for the scallops instead.
For our mains, Tom chose the Pickled Hen Burger which was a beef patty laden with a generous portion of beef brisket and cheese. In his words, it was ‘one of the best burgers I’ve had’. I opted for the Jerusalem Artichoke dumpling which were gnocchi in a rich, creamy sauce. Being greedy little piglets, we also ordered the brisket mac n cheese which was full of flavour and very cheesy, and creamed spinach. In hindsight, we may have ordered too much rich, creamy food! As we normally do, Tom and I ate our way through half of our meals before we swapped with each other. He appeared to enjoy my gnocchi but I found the burger a little too meaty for my liking. We washed all this down with beer (for Tom) and a homemade ginger beer, followed by a seasonal fruit cup (fresh fruit and soda), for me.
By this point, we were pretty stuffed but we couldn’t leave without having pudding! Especially when there was something called Egg and Soldiers on the menu! Again, we shared our pudding and Tom ordered the pickled cheesecake (If I hadn’t already claimed the egg and soldiers, I would have gone for the sticky toffee pudding – I can never resist…) which was small but filling. The egg and soldiers is a fun little dish, for adults and kids alike; real eggshells hold two thick mousses and its accompanied by fingers of brioche to dip.
We never normally head to that part of London, either for shopping or food but if we were going past that area again, we’d definitely pop back in – the service we received was excellent and the food was solidly tasty. I can imagine that after a hard day’s shopping, it would be the perfect place to revive with good food and drink. Plus, there are some items on the menu which I’m still keen to try!
How much: Our bill, including drinks came to just under £90 for starters, main course and pudding.
What: A gastropub serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Where: London Marriott Hotel Marble Arch, 134 George Street, London W1H 5DN
Website: Book a table via the Marriott Hotel website here and see the dinner menu here