If you are only somewhat involved in the London food scene, you can’t help but hear about the exceptional burgers at Admiral Codrington, a gastro pub located in a small side street in the middle of Chelsea. Intrigued, I went there last weekend for Sunday lunch and I can report back that the rumours are true: This is a gastro pub to watch out for, and not only the burgers make it well worth a visit.
Luckily, Admiral Codrington is nicely laid back considering its location and the dining room is bright and airy. The patrons are a mixture of families with small kids, groups of young people and elderly couples, it doesn’t seem your typical Chelsea crowd. Being in one of the most expensive parts of town is however reflected in the prices – 15 pounds for a burger and the starters ranging around 9 pounds is more than you would usually pay for gastro pub fare. However, if you consider the quality of the ingredients and the beautiful cooking this is a price one gladly pays.
I never had pork cracklings (bad Londoner that I am) so I was glad that someone of our group ordered the cholesterol-boosting Pork Crackling with Apple Sauce (3) at Ad Cod (that’s how regulars affectionately address this pub). I don’t have much comparison but they came crispy, and very tasty, and were in pleasant contrast with the sweet and tangy apple sauce The Welsh Rarebit (4.5), also form the ‘Snacks’ part of the menu, was moreish, naughty and very lovely. Welsh rarebit is a peculiar dish (and has nothing to do with Welsh rabbit, as I wrongly assumed in my first months in London), consisting of a mixture of melted cheese with other ingredients poured over a piece of browned bread. At Ad Cod, the gooey cheese sauce was beautifully flavoured with Guinness and Worcester sauce, how much more British/Irish can it possibly get?
Absolutely stunning and maybe even better than the burger yet to come was the Chilli Salt Squid (8.5). In fact this might have been the best salt squid I have ever eaten. Fried but not at all greasy, the tender pieces of squid came with plenty of medium spicy green chilli, young coriander leaves, spring onions and lime to drizzle over. Dipped into the accompanying sauce containing fish sauce, lime and sugar this was absolute perfection on a plate.
Ahh and now the burger. So much praise has been sung about the Admiral Codrington 8oz Cheeseburger (15), that I will keep myself brief. Let me just say it fully lived up to its expectations – the beautiful tender and juicy beef batty was embraced by a light brioche bun and was topped with iceberg salad, cooked onions and lusciously melting cheese. There is nothing fancy about this burger, no experiments, just plain pleasure. I also liked the hand-cut chips roasted in duck fat which I enjoyed with plenty of ketchup.
The only let down of this meal was the Salad of Heritage Tomatoes (I think 5 quid) which was tiny and overpriced, consisting of soggy pieces of tasteless tomatoes. Admiral Codrington is probably just not the place where one should choose the healthy option. (let me tell you, the fish and chip looked amazing, and there are some very tempting macaroni and cheese on the menu…)
I was quite full after all these delicacies, but there just needed to be space to try the desserts. I did not have the chance to sample the Triple Chocolate Brownie (5.75) as it was gone just far too quickly, but I was reliably informed that it was deliciously chocolatey and light topped with scrumptiously melting milk ice cream. The Rhubarb Crumble (5.75) was very good too. The crumble itself was pleasantly non sweet, made of sour and tangy rhubarb. Only when pouring the creamy custard over it, one got the sensation of vanilla and sweetness.
So, say good-bye to mediocre pub lunches and welcome Admiral Codrington into your life. This is a gastro pub that is worth the travel to Chelsea and I will certainly return. Although maybe not too often considering my waist line. You want to arrive hungry and not be on a diet and eat yourself through the menu without calorie counting. I promise, you will be rewarded with utter bliss.
NB: Admiral Codrington sometimes has burger specials, watch out for those.
- Food: 8/10
- Service: 7/10
- Ambiance: 7/10
- Value for Money: 7/10
- Verdict: Comforting gastro pub food executed to perfection.
17 Mossop Street
London SW3 2LYTel: +44 (0)20 7581 0005