32 great queen street , london wc2


newly opened 32 has its roots in favourite gastropubs the anchor & hope and the eagle. add chef/food writer tom norrington-davies and a link to st john, another much-loved london eaterie, and you know you’re going to be in safe hands.

we visited 32 for lunch and were the first to arrive at noon. no matter, we were seated in one of the window booths and settled back, with the sun pouring in, to enjoy a meal of simple, well-executed dishes.

11 of the 18 dishes on the lunch menu were grazing portions – starter-sized, perfect for a tapas approach or simply ideal as a quick snack mid-shopping expedition.

this was the approach i took, starting with crab on toast (their fabulous sour-dough bread perfectly complementing the pile of white and dark meat which was coated with a delicious richly flavoured sauce) and having a beetroot, mint and goats curd salad to accompany my delicious terrine (studded with pistachios and pockets of fruit, chutnied plum/damson i think) as a main course.

david started with an intensely flavoured, silky chicken liver parfait, served with a caper and onion salad and pickled walnuts. he followed this with a burger – a delicious fat pattie of meat atop another piece of sourdough toast.

the only main course proper was had by my mum, who chose plaice with samphire and radishes. a huge and beautifully fresh fish imbued with a taste of the sea which was almost disconcerting, sitting in london’s covent garden as we were.

none of us managed to resist the lure of pudding – mum’s strawberry trifle was quickly devoured while david and i shared, and swapped between, a large slice of a rustic apricot and almond tart and a more genteel treacle scented muscat caramel custard.

by this time the place had filled up and there was a gentle hum of content diners enjoying the delicious food. the décor is stark – bare tables and (blood red) walls – but the atmosphere was great. the lack of signage might put off passer-bys who are unsure what is on offer but it shouldn’t. 32 is a great addition to the area and well worth seeking out.

our meal, with a bottle of wine, came to £80.

32 great queen street

32 great queen street, london wc2b 5aa

tel: 020 7242 0622