King’s Arms, Shepherd Market, Mayfair W1J &QA
RATING: Food 3.5; Ambience 4; Service 3.5; Drinks 4; Toilets 2; Website 3.5
Film Star Johnny Depp and rock stars Arctic Monkeys have savoured a refreshment within the walls of this proper pub tucked away only a few minutes walk from The Ritz.
Shepherd Market is a charming part of Mayfair and The Kings Arms, formerly known as the Jolly Butcher, is run by the Taylor Walker chain after having been established in 1878.
You can enter through an atmospheric, narrow alley which opens up to a square packed with pubs, restaurants and shops. We entered from Mayfair after attending the hideously busy Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.
We needed a seat and a drink and some food. The King’s Arms provided. The real ale selection was commendable and my steak and ale pie had a crisp pastry, ample filling of what we were told was 100 per cent British beef, slow cooked in 1730 ale – on sale from the pump, by the way – and served with mash (I had chips) and seasonal vegetables. They had a pleasing crunch and were not mushy, a pleasant surprise.
The jug of gravy also proved a boon – ideal for dipping chips in – and hand-battered cod goujons went down well on the other side of the table.
The toilets were in the basement, a bit of a treck, and they were disappointingly smelly, but it was pre-Christmas and the pub was busy.