What's the draw
With not so much a nod to British nostalgia as a full-on, flag-waving paean to this green and pleasant land, Temple & Sons could have been a horrorshow, but Atherton's too smart for that. Instead, the clever-clever retro design is matched by a genuinely fun atmosphere and a seriously good, if not exactly serious, menu.
What to drink
Start with the cocktail list, where classics-with-a-nostalgic-twist are served out of tins (there's an on-site canner) – our Martinny (geddit?) with fino sherry and a Lea & Perrins distillate was an intense and savoury showstopper. Yellow Paint is served in a Colman's jar and has actual mustard in it; you won't be surprised to hear, either from the name or the ingredients, that it's bright pink (we're kidding). If you're planning on being able to stand at the end of the night, you'll be glad to hear there's a solid list of craft beers, wine and mocktails too.
What to eat
The occasional waft of wood smoke from the grill lets you know what you're in for. Wood-fired scallops are plump and sweet, with just a trace of smokiness, while New Forest mushrooms (also wood-fired) with truffle goat's curd are labelled as a side dish but frankly could have come in a bucket with a giant spoon – we'd have hoovered up the lot. Meat and fish – paraded at the table before you order – are simply and beautifully cooked. Our veal t-bone was subtle in flavour, beautifully aged, and lightly charred – we found ourselves using the steak knife to dig out every last morsel of tender meat. The knife, incidentally, we selected from a selection presented in a wooden box by our waitress – a gimmick, sure, but a fun one.
Mains from £15; wines from £5.50. 22 Old Broad Street, EC2N 1HQ; templeandsons.co.uk