Located just off London Bridge and a hot spot for tourists, city folk and ‘just one before the train’’ drinkers, The Hydrant is the latest Fuller's pub to get a mighty makeover. It boasts a new food and cocktail menu and a whole new look inside. So what did we think?
The Venue & Atmosphere
When I first started working in London, commuting from Brighton meant that The Fine Line (original name before Hydrant) was my last stop before getting on a probably delayed, Southern Train. Then, it was a quintessentially typical city boozer; always busy and always a good option for a last minute pint. Now, it has completely transformed into an American themed craft house and restaurant. Going by the name ‘The Hydrant’, we decided to venture down to Monument street on a cold Monday evening to check out their new small plates menu, cocktails and traditional Fuller's beverages.
The venue itself is completely different and a welcoming surprise; quirky American themed knick-knacks dress the walls and shelves which act as a great starting point of conversation as you settle into one of their cosy, red booths. Two floors occupy the space; one being a more drinks-led space but still having a vast amount of booths and tables, and the first floor being a more restaurant styled section. Evenings are when this place gets busy with a variety of different folk, however this night in particular was a mixture of catch ups and after work drinks. I’m not particularly fond of loud bars where you can’t hear yourself, let alone the person next to you, but unlike most city bars where the music is turned up to its fullest and the crowd is louder than most, The Hydrant makes everyone who walks through its doors feel comfortable and at ease.
The Food and Drink
Let me just start by saying I am that annoying friend who kindly asks for/sneakily steals a bite from everyone's plate. I love having a bit of variety, so ordering a melange of starters is definitely my preference rather than going for a big main. When looking at The Hydrant’s menu, I knew instantly that I was in for a treat. Primarily small plates, they pride their menu on being a ‘social experience’, and I could tell this would hit the spot with the big drinking groups that vacate here frequently. Sectioned into ‘Meat’, ‘Veg’, ‘Salads’, ‘Fish’ and ‘Sides’, we were spoiled for choice.
Going straight in, we ordered a little bit of everything; the Lamb Neck Fillet (£7.50), Spiced Cauliflower (£6.50), Parmesan & Truffle Mac & Cheese (£6.50), Hydrant Hot Wings(£6.50), Rosemary Chips (£4.00), Tenderstem Broccoli (£4.50) and Sticky Red Cabbage (£3.50). While there were only two of us, it’s surprising how this was just the right amount. The food both lived up to and exceeded expectations. While the lamb neck fillet was firm with savoury flavour and felt more like a mini roast on a plate, it’s the tenderstem broccoli that was the surprising star of the show. Buffed up with a hint of lemon, this was the perfect dish to prove that Hydrant truly has perked up their emphasis on pub grub with a gastro-led twist.
In my opinion, you can’t go to a Fuller's pub without having a golden Frontier, so that’s how we aimed to start. Bold yet silky, this pint is yet another example of the British forward food and drink that the name are known for. Finishing off our food, we were offered some cocktails to try, one being the Sweet French Bastard (£9.50) and the wholesome Lavender Lullaby (£9.50). Both were delicious and showed a creative touch that steered away from the expected classics.
I was surprised that this venue had had a complete makeover, and made such a drastic decision to be completely different than before, but in hindsight I don't think I would have ever sat down and had a meal there previously. Having been to the newly pumped up Hydrant, I’ll definitely go back again. The food, the service and the atmosphere were all memorable and for all the right reasons. The menu offers something for everyone, whether you’re having a couple of drinks and fancy something to nibble on, or if you’re having lunch in the city. I, for one, will definitely be back to try more of those delicious cocktails.