Saturday 29 September 2007

Cittie of York, High Holborn, London

Stepping from bland, congested High Holborn into the Cittie of York is like travelling back in time. Everywhere you look there is wood, very dark, old wood, embellished with 200-year-old fittings and the white rose emblem of York. If it weren't for the odd fruit machine, the main bar could pass for the dining room of Hogwarts in a Harry Potter film. There is a very high wooden beam ceiling, huge wooden casks above the bar, stained glass windows, wrought iron grills and one wall is lined with ornate, wooden cubicles, which sit four people around a table and look like large confessional boxes. At the front of the pub and downstairs in the cellar, there are two more smaller, intimate, but less remarkable bars.

Respectable light lunch
On tap, there is a range of eclectic Samuel Smith beers, lagers and ciders, complemented by a respectable light lunch menu, which features a range of 'special sandwiches', such as toasted ciabatta with dolcelatte, mushroom and roast red peppers, served with salad and fries for £5.50, a selection of burgers at £6.50 and jacket potatoes at £4.50. Perhaps the best deal is a traditional sandwich, such as Stilton and red onion, with one of the soups of the day, for £5.50. The soups come in large bowls, but the spicy, almost sweet beef mulligatawny broth, was a little thin and disappointing - even a couple of pieces of meat floating amid the grains of rice would have made all the difference. Still, the Cittie of York is an extraordinary pub. 8/10