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Sunday, 14 February 2010

The Narrow: Factory of food

44 Narrow Street, E14 8DP
tel: +44 (0)20 7592 7950

Ever been to a place where the food is really good, but you don't ever want to go back? That's kind of what I feel about The Narrow. It's Gordon Ramsey's first pub in London. The location, right on the Thames, is fantastic - especially in summer. But both times I've eaten here, I've sworn never to return. Which is strange, because the food is actually good. The Sunday roast, with the usual sides of veg, roast potatoes, and Yorkshire pudding was super swell. Better than I could cook myself, which is always a good barometer. But the place itself reeks of a tourist trap. In fact, shen I got a bit lost outside of Limehouse station, I asked the first couple I saw for directions. In a Texas twang, they pointed, "oh we just came from Gordon Ramsey's place - it's thaddaway." Walking through the door, the place was heaving. Granted, I didn't have reservations, but it took the young and disheveled staff a good 10 minutes to decide whether they had a table for me and my lovely friend Caroline. As they hunched over a clipboard, we decided to get a glass of champagne at the bar. The bubbly was divine - but oddly - the tap water was not. It tasted rotten - like it was straight out of the Thames. We received a swift apology from the barman and a bottle of water on the house. When we finally did get a table, things improved. We had a charming waitress who sold me on the roast (beef) of the day and Caroline on the pork belly. 
Honestly, both our meals were delicious. Caro's crackling was perfect. My roast beef was succulent - and the Yorkshire pud was a golden work of art. But there is still something I can't put my finger on about the place. It's almost like the food was TOO perfect. Sounds picky, but I almost felt like I was eating in a factory. As sexy as swearing Gordon Ramsey may be, he's become a victim of his own success and The Narrow feels less like a pub than a tourist trap. So, would I go back? Maybe. But only in the summer, for a pint only, on one of the nicest pieces of real estate in London. 

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