After months of painstaking and extensive restoration, Crocker’s Folly has just reopened its doors in St John’s Wood, giving Londoners the chance to reacquaint themselves with this palatial pub-of-sorts, after a decade of abandon and a stint on the Victorian Society’s top 10 Endangered list.
Crocker’s Folly is a beautiful Grade II-listed former gin palace and one of the most striking examples of Victorian design I have come across in London, with a saloon bar built from no less than fifty different kinds of marble, Romanesque columns, multiple cut glass chandeliers and carved mahogany – a sight that is most breathtaking to behold as you bundle inside on a winter’s evening.
Restored to its former glory, the history and original design features have been fully respected, but are now offset by modern additions – huge bespoke Venetian glass chandeliers and chunky contemporary furniture, specially imported from Italy.
The menu, designed by young talent Arek Bober (trained under Jason Atherton at Pollen Street Social), features a host of unpretentious and seasonal items – an eye-catching octopus starter (£10), and main courses of miso lamb neck (£19) and Josper-grilled 28 day aged steaks (~£25) have stuck firmly in my mind. Desserts (£6.50) are delectably finished with unique touches like compressed pear and pineapple granita.
With three distinct spaces (a large bar with its own menu, a restaurant and an intimate dining room), imposing fireplaces, a buzzing open kitchen, outdoor terrace and more ginormous chandeliers than you can count on two hands, Crocker’s Folly was one of 2014’s most eagerly anticipated openings, and it truly does not disappoint. Book a table here if you fancy fuss-free food in a grand and overly opulent setting.
Have You Heard Of It? dined as a guest.
23–24 Aberdeen Place, St John’s Wood, NW8 8JR