Test driving the Admiral Codrington in South Kensington

Test driving the Admiral Codrington in South KensingtonWhat can you tell us about the Admiral Codrington?

Once the roaming ground of the determined and thirsty Sloane ranger, the Admiral Codrington has somewhat sobered in its reputation, and clientele of late, and adopted a much more tranquil and food-focused approach.

Still first and foremostly a pub, The Admiral’s front bar area is nicely decorated with dark wood panelling and rich upholsteries. Heading into the back are of the pub you’ll find the rather contrasting bright, recently refurbished dining area. The Cod (as was once its nickname) is beginning to attract an altogether new crowd with the lure of light, comfortable surroundings and decent, unpretentious, food on offer.

Where is it?

Roughly a 5-10 minute walk from South Kensington tube station, and unassumingly tucked away down a side street, it’s a little off the beaten track for those heading for a night out in Chelsea. This does mean, however, that it maintains more of a ‘local pub’ feel as opposed to the contrasting trendy bars located a stones throw around the corner.

Who’s it suitable for?

The pub area at the front of the establishment is the perfect place to hole up after a long day at work and set the world to rights over a pint with friends. This area is full of young professional types all having a, quiet, drink whilst chatting away. The atmosphere is calm, warm and very comfortable.

The dining area at the back of the establishment however has a bit more of a reserved feel still. It struck us as the perfect place to take your parents when they’re visiting from out of town, as opposed to where you’d go with a gaggle of friends for a night out.

Where should I meet my fellow diners for pre-dinner drinks?

With the Admiral Codrington being a jolly nice pub, there’d be no reason why you wouldn’t relax with an aperitif in the front bar area beforehand, or even head out into their outdoor seating area to the side. With a wine list comprising around 30 wines, there are plenty to choose from, and plenty of pints on offer also. There’s also a bar snack menu consisting of Scotch Egg with HP Sauce, Padron Peppers with Maldon Sea Salt, and Chilli Salt Squid, so you may find it difficult to resist ‘warming up’ with a few pre-dinner snacks also.

Where should we sit?

The dining area’s crowning glory is a large partially glazed roof, which elevates in order to provide fresh air into the restaurant. This means that in the early evening of summer, the restaurant is very light and bright and airy. The décor is muted, but smart and with some interesting touches, such as the illustrated, framed portraits of varying species of fish adorning the walls. With plenty of space assigned to each table you won’t feel squashed in. However if you are looking for slightly more privacy there are a couple of booths towards the back of the room.

What would you recommend ordering?

There is plenty to choose from on this menu. Reassuringly, for a pub restaurant, they’ve not neglected to keep the classics such as Fish and Chips with Mushy Peas and Tartare Sauce, or 8oz Cheeseburger with Pickles and Hand-cut Chips on the menu. However, there are some interesting choices for those looking for something a little less pub-style, such as Foie-Gras Parfait with Sauternes Jelly and Brioche, or Slow-Cooked Belly of Berkshire Pork with Lentils, Peas, Pancetta and Sage.

For starters we opted for the Ricotta-Stuffed Courgette Flowers with Salsa Verde, and the Burrata with Heritage Tomatoes and Basil Oil. Both were prepared and presented well. 

For mains, in our opinion you simply can’t visit the Admiral Codrington and not try their signature cod dish – The Admiral’s Cod with Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Herb Crust. A delicious fillet of soft, perfectly cooked cod swimming in a light, elegant cream and chive sauce, topped with a delicious minced blend of mushrooms and tomatoes and a tasty herb crust. We also opted for the special of English Veal Chop with Pepperonata & Roasted Garlic Mash.

Spotting Hand-Cut Chips with Smoked Raclette on the sides menu we couldn’t resist sampling those also. Our very charming waitress had recommended a bottle of the Dezzani Gavi 2010 (£28) to accompany our meal, and I’m pleased to say she made a great selection.

For dessert we sidestepped the Sticky Toffee Pudding and the Triple Chocolate Brownie in favour of the lighter Strawberries (marinated in balsamic and icing sugar) with Clotted Cream, and scoops of the Vanilla and Honeycomb ice-creams.

Is bread included?

Yes, we were invited to select from slices of farmhouse white loaf or slices of white baton

How much is this going to set me back?

There is scope to end up with a fairly hefty bill here if you stick to steaks and veer up the extensive wine list. At an average of £8 for a starter and £13-28 for mains, it’s not a cheap-eats place. Nor does it want to be. The smart dining area, the charismatic staff and the well-presented food are not the makings of your run-of-the-mill pub restaurant, but you can have a decent bottle of wine and 3 courses for around £40 per head, which didn’t seem too over the odds for the meal and the experience as a whole.

Overall thoughts?

The Admiral Codrington manages to be a decent pub and eaterie all in one. The staff must be noted as being incredibly personable and it was evident from the rapport they had with many of the clientele that they attract a crowd of satisfied regulars. It’s a pleasant escape from the pretention of the surrounding designer shops and bars, and with a nice crowd frequenting it, we predict The Admiral Codrington is set to remain a feature on the Kensington circuit for a good while yet.

The Admiral Codrington - 17 Mossop Street, London SW3 2LY - Find out more

Prices are correct at the time of writing.  Hot Dinners were invited to eat at the Admiral Codrington