Elephant & Castle: Proper British Pub Grub

February 06 2008 - 9:49 AM

Though a chain, Elephant and Castle is purportedly an English pub, and a good one at that.   Though it is very difficult to immitate a pub that’s been around for 400 years, and it may not be worth trying, Elephant and Castle’s now-third location at North Wabash does a wonderful job giving the pub atmosphere, perhaps better than their Huron St. location.  Fast expansion, as chains are prone to do, may put it at risk of not staying cool, but for now there aren’t many places downtown that do a better job as an English pub. 

Elephant and Castle has locations all over North America, which in
my mind diminishes its charm a bit.  But its menu reflects proper
English pub grub, carrying very traditional things like Ploughman’s
Platter (called Ploughman’s Lunch in England, which is usually bread,
cold cuts, cheese, and pickle relish) and Steak & Ale pie.   I went
for the Bangers and Mash.  The soft sausage casing found in English
sausage was just like the real thing, and the mashed potatoes were
adequate as well.  I didn’t touch the baked beans, but well, they’re
baked beans.   It’s pub grub… true comfort food, and I remember some
truly awful pub grub in England, but also some that was very good as well.

For my drink I had nothing other than Fuller’s London Pride, a very
fine typically lightly carbonated English Bitter Ale with a rounded
flavor.  Very drinkable, very good–not like the more mass-produced
English ales like Boddington’s and Tetley’s.   

Now if only I can find myself a fresh, real hand-pumped cask ale in Chicago.  Anyone?

Elephant & Castle
185 N. Wabash