The British Pub certainly feels authentic from the moment you step inside, with its dimly lit interior and the type of everyman atmosphere and classic décor that sets the tone for the knocking back of pints and watching soccer matches on ESPN.
The food lends itself to those activities quite well, especially the starter and pub snacks. The Tikka pizza ($9) was unexpected with its thin crust and a layer of cheddar covering a spicy Indian-influenced sauce, but it was light, crispy and tasty. The Devils on Horseback, dates stuffed with Stilton and wrapped with bacon ($5), had a nice balance of sweetness and fatty richness. The Scotch egg ($6) was textbook perfection and the pickled deviled eggs ($3) could easily be the best in the city, with their lovely flavor and flawless texture inside and out. We fell in love with the curried cheese chips ($7), and added Victoria Freehouse to our very-short list of favorite places to get French fries in Philly. These chips were swimming in a spicy, cheesy sauce that we could not pull ourselves away from. But we could tell the chips by themselves would be equally as heavenly.
We figured the chips were a good-enough indication and skipped the fish in favor of some of the heartier main-fare dishes. The beef stew ($15) definitely did not skimp on the beef, as that element easily outnumbered the mass of the stew and the potatoes by an impressive margin. The stew itself was pleasantly thick and homestyle in flavor and presentation. The banger and mash ($15) were great too, with the sausages sweet, robust and juicy. The potatoes where whipped into lovely submission and the onion gravy gave the whole dish a nice kick in the pants.
Drool all you want over the latest branch in the Royal Family tree, but we’d rather lavish our energy and affections on British food and good times at Victoria Freehouse.