I look at the retro dial phone in front of us as we sit on comfortable leather seats and, dismissing it as a prop, I pick up the receiver and roll the beginning of a telephone number. Seconds later the phone behind the bar rings and I’m confused. I’m not actually calling the bar, am I?
However, this is exactly what I am doing and the barman on the other end of the phone politely asks me what I want.
Bewildered, I respond with: “Erm, three Heinekens please?”
Three freshly-poured beers are delivered to the table, plonked next to the phone in front of three bemused reporters all thinking, ‘did that just happen?’.
Owned by Young’s Brewery, the Cock Tavern pub was given a retro feel in a makeover that took eight days and uses eye-catching fixtures such as mirrors on the ceiling, easels and a bubble chair to provide a laid back and fun atmosphere. Just round the corner from the hustle and bustle of Fulham Broadway, the pub is warm, inviting and quirky with messy newspapers, bookshelves and board games that add to the environment.
Pubs that offer a retro vibe can be pretentious in their effort to be cool, but this one avoids the trap and the vibrant colour scheme gives the pub character and charm.
After taking a few moments to fully absorb our surroundings, which included a neat Tube style map of all Young’s pubs in and around London, we set about ordering.
The menu consists of British classics scaled down to smaller portions so customers can while away the day in the pub snacking.
From the mix-and-match menu we went for three ‘grazing dishes’: Cornish crab and avocado salad, sticky bourbon BBQ ribs and the Wee Black Pudding scotch egg.
The salad, although small, was delicious, with the crab, mango and avocado juxtaposed against the kick from the chili.
The ribs were moist and tender and served in a Hickory sauce, but for us the revelation was the black pudding scotch egg, which was full of flavour and moreish.
For our mains we couldn’t ignore the Cock in Cyder, a whole roast chicken with Aspall’s cider and triple-cooked chips meant for sharing, and a fully-loaded British beefburger with Bloody Mary relish.
The chicken had crispy skin and the meat was succulent while the cider provided a sweet sauce.
We were so enamoured with the dish that we almost forgot about the burger, which would have been a shame because it was cooked to perfection and the relish gave it a tangy bite.
To finish we had the British cheeseboard which was a little underwhelming because the cheeses were all similar, but staff were attentive and helpful throughout and if they didn’t know the answer to our questions, they quickly found it.
With drinks included, the Cock Tavern’s very British food worked out at about £25 a head.