The vibe: On the doorstep of St Paul’s Cathedral and at a decent distance from the banker-heavy bars of the City, Hush St Paul's is the latest from this London mini-chain of brasserie-come-cocktail bars. In the same vein as the original Mayfair branch (a tucked-away gem of a bar with one of the few decent outdoor eating spaces in W1) this is one of those places that seems like it was designed with post-work drinks in mind. With a well-balanced blend of standing bar space and comfy booths, you find your inner compass leading you there come 6pm. There’s no denying that their cocktail list plays a role in luring you in - you won’t find a quicker way of letting go of post-graft stress than one (or a few) of their Pinot Grigio and Strawberry Spritzers.
The food: Forget any preconceived ideas of post-work-drinks-grub. This is a strictly ‘no bowls of salted peanuts’ zone. Where to start? A pretty good place would be the appetizers - specifically the dressed Dorset crab with avocado and melba toast, or their grilled Tiger prawns in chilli and ginger. Both absolutely mouthwatering and apparently (and understandably) big menu hits. What’s amazing about Hush is that they totally undersell their food - they play themselves down as a cocktail bar with a decent food menu, when in actual fact the quality, variety and standard of their dishes is better than I’ve tasted at some ridiculously expensive high-end restaurants. Famous for their crispy duck salad, you really can’t come here without ordering one (it’s huge - so you may wish to share it), and to add a few extra calories and assist in soaking up those cocktails, the Aspen fries tossed in parmesan and truffle oil are a must. Portions here are really generous so after two courses you’ll no doubt be stuffed but make sure you treat yourself to the Mars Bar cheesecake (with two spoons).
PS. Rumour has it that they do a great breakfast here too (their copious variants of Eggs Benedict and the pancake stack with banana, streaky bacon and maple syrup being their biggest sellers), making this the perfect pitch for work-day breakfasts or weekend pre-sightseeing fuelling.
The details: Hush Brasserie St Paul’s, 1 Ludgate Hill, London, EC4M 7AA, email@example.com, 020 7236 1544
By Sarah Statman