Posted on Tuesday, 20th January 2015
Crocker’s Folly in St John’s Wood was a thriving pub in its former life. Built in 1898, the beautiful Grade II* listed building fell into disrepair and sadly closed in 2004. By 2007 Crocker’s Folly had been placed on the Victorian Society’s list of top ten endangered buildings.
In 2014 The Maroush Group took ownership of Crocker’s Folly and lovingly restored it back to its former glory. Thus Crocker’s Folly was reborn, re-opening after a long ten-year absence. Many of the original aspects of the building have been maintained along with the addition of some beautiful bespoke features such as dazzling chandeliers, mahogany woodwork and the use of at least 50 kinds of marble. It’s a glorious restoration and beautifully done, with the finishing touches being some gorgeous imported Italian furniture. Crocker’s Folly now speaks of grandeur, but also with a relaxed and inviting tone.
Crocker’s Folly is divided into three sections – two separate bars and a dining room. Heading up the kitchen is Head Chef Arek Bober who previously worked under Jason Atherton at Pollen Street Social. His Crocker’s Folly menu is modern European with a section specifically devoted to steaks cooked on the josper grill. On a Sunday, Crocker’s Folly offers a special set lunch menu with two-courses for £20 and three-courses for £25. It is also possible to order each dish individually and the prices listed below are the price per dish.
We started our lunch with a 62c egg with soft polenta (£10) which was delicious. The egg, slow cooked at 62c was soft-set in the centre with a beautifully golden yolk and it married well with the creaminess of the soft polenta. Completing the dish was a topping of lovely fresh truffle shavings, Parmesan cheese and a mushroom emulsion that added a nutty, earthy flavour to the combination.
A second starter of chestnut soup (£6) was also enjoyable. There was a pleasant chestnut flavour running through the soup and it had a nice creaminess to it even though it was a little runny.
Being Sunday lunch there was a selection of roasts to choose from. I went for the roast beef with roast potatoes, winter vegetables and Yorkshire pudding (£18). Unfortunately the Yorkshire arrived burnt and the beef was overdone. I requested a replacement plate (shown in the picture) and second time around the roast beef was more appealing even though this was the weakest part of the dish. The beef was tasty, but dry in parts and slightly chewy. Other than that, all the other elements on the plate were delicious. The Yorkshire was lovely, the potatoes were crispy with a nice rosemary flavour and the winter vegetables were a joy to eat. Consisting of carrots, cabbage, leeks and sprouts, each vegetable had been beautifully cooked in lots of butter and was scrumptious.
A roast pork loin (£15) was also a little dry in parts but overall the plate was really enjoyable with the same sides of delicious roast potatoes and winter vegetables. Accompanying the roast pork was a yummy apple sauce and some superb crackling that was really crunchy.
To desserts, and the ‘snow egg’ (£6.50) was delicious. The ‘snow egg’ consisted of a soft fluffy meringue perched on an orange and almond biscuit base that was buttery, if a little soft. To complete the dessert was a drizzling of mango sauce which was lovely and the perfect way to bring the dessert together.
Chocolate praline (£6.50) on a crunchy biscuit base was a chocolate lover’s dream. The praline boasted of a lovely creamy texture and a rich chocolate flavour, and to help cut the richness there was also some tasty and zingy lemon curd. This was a technically strong dessert.
There was some stellar cooking on show at Crocker’s Folly but it also wasn’t without error. I really enjoyed the starters, the sides and the desserts but more care was needed in terms of the meats. That said, £25 for three courses was great value and I would really like to go back to Crocker’s Folly and try their full dinner menu. As for the service, it was lovely and helpful but somewhat disorganised. We were asked the same questions by different waiters on several occasions and obviously better organisation of which staff works which tables would help to eliminate this.
Summary Information for Sunday lunch
Starters and sides were accomplished.
Desserts were excellent and showed off strong technical skills.
The Sunday lunch menu is really good value.
It’s a lovely place to go for a drink and some snacks at the bar.
The meat was a little dry.
My first Yorkshire pudding was burnt.
The service was friendly (a plus point) but it was a little disorganised.
Sunday lunch menu rating: 3.5/5
Service rating: 3.25/5
Price of Sunday lunch: Two-courses for £20 and three-courses for £25