London Lantern

Putting the Spotlight on London

Porters English Restaurant

19/10/2002, By David McIntosh

Reader Rating: 2.9 from 15725 votes


If youíre looking for Liza Doolittle selling flowers in Covent Garden Iím afraid you will be disappointed. Itís been a while since Covent Garden truly was a market in the sense of being a farmers or produce market. These days Liza would more likely be taking in the nightlife and excitement in one of Londonís newest trendy sections. Thatís because the old market area has now become an attractive collection of shops and restaurants.

Through to about the mid-seventies one could spend an early morning at Covent Garden watching vendors engaged in wheeling and dealing as buyers and sellers bargained with each other over all kinds of produce from all around the world. In the seventies however the produce market moved to south of the River Thames at Vauxhall, and the redevelopment of the area that once held fruit and flower stalls began.

One of the restaurants calling Covent Garden home is Porters English Restaurant, a traditional English establishment started by Richard, the Seventh Earl of Bradford, when he saw that many conventional restaurants were being replaced by ones that served a more trendy fare. While the advent of more restaurants serving continental cuisine, and more and more famous chefs deciding to have an address in England, has vaulted London to the front ranks of the international gastronomic rankings, it has also meant a decline in the sort of food that England was once famous, some would say infamous, for.

Traditional English cooking has, in the past received an unfair rap; a visit to Porters should make a believer out of most folks as to the pleasures to be find at the typical English table.

The atmosphere is warm and friendly as well as unhurried and this particular night- Boxing Day night- the crowd looked to be about evenly divided between locals (always a good sign) and tourists. The wait for a table was brief and that time was spent at the bar chasing away the chill. How best to describe the feeling inside Porters? Well, probably the best way would that of a neighbourhood watering hole. The sort of place where if you donít know some of the clientele before you leave, you havenít been trying heard enough. The couple at the table next to us were from North Carolina (they said a southern accent stands out anywhere in the world).

As for the food, itís very good. I went with that traditional favourite, fish and chips while my daughter Carrie decided on fried chicken nuggets and chips. Truthfully I forget what my wife and her sister ordered though I can tell you whatever it was they enjoyed it.

As for the fish and chips, probably the best Iíve ever tried and Carrie loved her chicken nuggets and chips and thatís saying something since sheís a somewhat picky eater.

The menu includes English pies including fish, lamb and ham and as we say here in the south, bring your appetite because they donít skimp on portions. Youíll also find puddings as well as a good selection of meat dishes such as grilled sirloin, lamb steak and chicken breast.

Service was quick and courteous while the atmosphere was friendly and informal. Thatís one of the things that made the evening at Porters so enjoyable; after doing London town on a cold Boxing Day, the warm and welcoming feeling of Porters was the perfect way to cap off a day and spend the evening.

Porters is easy enough to find. Take the tube to Covent Garden and then itís a pleasant five or so minute walk to Henrietta Street behind the market. While you wonít find Liza Doolittle outside selling flowers, itís a safe bet that if she ever decides to visit her old stomping grounds sheíll drop into Porters for a drink and a bite to eat.

David McIntosh

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Re: Porters English Restaurant

By Robert Walavich 01/11/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 14594 votes)

Had the pleasure of visiting London last week and dined at Porters on Oct 27th. Restaurant was charming, service efficient, but my wife's potroast with Yorkshire pudding was disappointingly tough. I also had to remind the server to refigure the check to reflect the 10% coupon we submitted upon ordering. The Guinness and sides were great.

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Re: Porters English Restaurant

By Caron Brennan 01/11/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 14489 votes)

Our family (including my husband and 2 sons - 13 yrs and 11 yrs) visited London and Porters the first week in August 2002. I found the website through the London Lantern and also had the coupon. Everyone in our party was delighted with their meals. My 13 yr old generally only will eat hamburgers or pizza (a true American teenager) and he was reluctant to even go in to Porters. He chose the fish and chips and even asked to return the next day for more! Our other entrees included the roast chicken and barbeque chicaken breast. We also appreciated being able to take our sons into an authentic pub atmosphere, most others would let them in due to their age. We will definitely be return to London and Porters!

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Re: Porters English Restaurant

By Jim Davis 02/11/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 14523 votes)

This past summer my family and I dined at Porters in Covent Garden. We wanted to try traditional English food...and we did! The food was excellent, but the service was even better. We had a 1 yr old child and the waiter made sure all our needs were met. The only reason we tried Porters, is because of the ad in the Lantern. I must say..good show! Thanks again for the fine dining and we will be back!

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Re: Porters English Restaurant

By Heather Peterson 08/11/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 14496 votes)

My husband and I had lunch at Porters on Oct. 30. We were very pleased with the food and the service. The flaky crust on top of the meat pies was wonderful! We will be sure to visit again the next time we're in London.

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