Canyon faced Frankenstein’s monster lookalike kitchen tyrant Gordon Ramsey has bellowed at cowering publicans and restaurateurs for years to ‘$£%@ing simplify’. In his exasperated sweary way Gordon is always trying to help these quivering deluded humans into realising that the oddly shaped plates, multicolour walls and menus longer than a Leonard Cohen song are the reasons that their business is failing and their life is falling apart. A lot of time could be saved if he simply took them to The Star Tavern and said ‘do it like this’ for this is the very essence of a good pub; though admittedly that probably wouldn’t make very good telly.
Hidden away in Belgravia amongst international embassies, Aston Martin strewn streets and the worlds poshest Waitrose you might expect this to be similarly snooty but it’s far from it. An unfussy exterior faces onto semi pedestrian cobbled street you can spill out into in the summer for evening drinks. Inside is equally uncomplicated. A large main drinking room on the left with ample seating options and a horseshoe bar in the smaller reception room.
A real open fire, warm wooden panelling and a bit of cheery banter from the staff instantly make this a hit for me and you honestly don’t need much more than that half the time. As a Fullers pub this has a rotation of the breweries offerings with the odd seasonal guest ale popping up to keep things interesting. The menu is varied without being OTT and avoids any pretentiousness like ‘crenulations of mash’ or ‘spurting’s of raspberry jus’; it’s classic pub food done well.
The beauty of The Star Tavern is that anyone could feel comfortable and relaxed here as my visit proved. On my visit I was sharing the pub with a group of students ignoring each other and merrily staring into various screens, a couple chatting over the stew, a pair of older ‘well to do’ chaps reading the papers and some football types propping up the bar whilst talking in that blokey language as impenetrable to me as Urdu spoken through a kazoo. In decades past it’s played host to the good the bad and the ugly of London – most famously the Great Train Robbery being planned here – and it still hosts a merry cross section of society.
Whilst not as spellbinding as somewhere like The Dove or as grandiose as The Princess Victoria this stands up as a great pub for its honest simplicity. I’d make this a well earned stop off after a walk around Hyde Park or as a destination to escape some of the more commercialised pubs of the West End.