Tim Foolery

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Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

The oldest pub in London: Ye Old Cheshire Cheese, is located right off Fleet Street. It is actually one of the handful of restaurants/pubs claiming to be the oldest in the City.  Ye Old Cheshire Cheese (YOCC) has been in constant operation since 1667. It was open before that, but was shut for a bit because of the Great Fire of 1666.

This was not my first visit to YOCC.  When I lived in London for about 5 weeks in College we visited this place. I had fond memories of the restaurant. I remember this cheddar soup that was fantastic.  I wanted to bring MS to this place and see if it was as good as I remembered.  Let me clarify, I never considered this place to have outstanding food, but I did want to revisit.

We took the train from our hotel and walked about 5 minutes from the Mansion House station, finding YOCC without a problem.  We were greeted by a woman who asked if we were there for restaurant food.  Foolish me, I said yes. I didn’t clarify what the alternative was. Honestly, I thought the options were Restaurant Food or just a drink. Silly me.

We sit down and peruse the menu which is full of standard English Pub Food.  I didn’t see the Cheddar Soup. Dammit.  I didn’t really see anything that jumped out at me as something I had to have.  I opted to eat the Fish and Chips with a cup of the fire roasted tomato soup to start.  MS had the pheasant, which he was so overcooked you couldn’t tell it was pheasant.  My fish and chips were quite fine. Not worth visiting YOCC again for it, but it was acceptable.  MS then decided to have the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Lemon Curd – two things he absolutely loves.  Very disappointed.  He said it was like eating a stale Entenmann’s cake. He didn’t even finish, which says something because he loves dessert.

Very tasty Fire Roasted Tomato Soup
Average Fish and Chips with Mushy Peas
Overdone pheasant

The server was a bit rough too. She was probably in her late 20s and when she did speak she used as few words as possible and when we asked for advice she just walked away.  I know this place will never be rated by Michelin, but come on, at least pretend to provide service.

The meal, like everything in London was a bit pricey, but I wouldn’t say it was out of line.

Would I go back.  Maybe. If I do, I’m not eating the restaurant meal, I’ll be popping downstairs to the cool underground pub and have a pint or two and eat whatever they are serving down stairs.  This place is something you do and mark it off the list. It’s history is cool, but that’s about it. If you are stumbling down fleet street and need a pint, definitely pop in, but I wouldn’t seek out this little pub.

Have you been to the Ye Old Cheshire Cheese?  How was the food, the service and the ambiance?  Do you ever visit a place because you “have to”, because it’s the oldest, the smallest, the largest, the dirtiest (well, hopefully not the latter) place in town?

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