First thing’s first, I am not a realist. Though I have adult responsibilities like working, paying my water bill and thinking about but never flossing, my love for all-things-magical has barely faltered over the years, and as such, I’ve had The Fable on my ‘to-visit’ list for quite some time. With a focus on good food, bespoke cocktails and classic fairy tales, you’ll find this pixie-loving-palace located slap bang between the St Paul’s and Holborn neighbourhoods.
Similar to its sister sites, the Fable’s design is spacious, stylish and well thought out, with plenty of botanical touches too. Aptly named, the venue is inspired by quaint magical literature and old folklore stories, and there are a number of nods to the theme over the three floors. Featuring industrial low-hanging lighting, a ‘storybook’ seating booth, as well as their bric-a-brac heavy bookcases, the Aesop touches are definitely present, but overall have a subtle effect.
Predominantly used as a restaurant area, the ground floor features stylish furniture, small and large tables, and plenty of space for drinking-only dates. You can eat and drink on the two other floors as well, and they’re also well set-up for private parties and functions for those looking for a spacious, quirky venue to hire in the city.
Food and Drink
Boasting a simple menu with a few quirky additions, The Fable certainly don’t let themselves down when it comes to the food. They don’t have a defined cuisine, but you can expect hearty, well presented, modern dishes with a great selection of sides. We started with the chorizo scotch egg (£5.50) and the crispy squid with wasabi mayonnaise (£6.25) for starters, both of which were interesting, and super tasty. I was initially dubious about the wasabi mayonnaise but it had a really lovely heat, with just the right amount of punch. For mains, I opted for the 8oz fillet steak (£24.95), rare, accompanied by a delicious blue cheese sauce, while my date on the night went for a chicken BLT burger (£8.95). The food was quick out of the kitchen and really flavoursome, served with some mouth-watering sides (I’m looking at you, mac ‘n’ cheese, you naughty little thing). Though unfathomably-full after finishing both mine and my date’s dinner, I don’t take the responsibilities of these reviews lightly. So selflessly, I also devoured a honeycomb, cherry, kirsch and chocolate sundae (£5.95) for dessert too, which just as the mains, was as aesthetically pleasing as it was scrumptious (though granted I was little disappointed they didn't call the menu 'happily ever afters', but in time, I'll get over that).
Drinks-wise, we opted for cocktails over wine. The Fable has a number of bespoke concoctions on offer which each come in at around £8-£9, and if our drinks on the night were anything to go by, you won’t be disappointed if you decide to sink a couple over dinner either.
Ambience and Clientèle
We visited mid-week, but the downstairs of the bar was still buzzing, and there were plenty of people in for dinner, too. The middle floor usually gets going when the venue is a little busier on the weekends, and they tend to reserve the upstairs for private events or drinking-only guests. Though it’s located within a relatively corporate area, the vibe was fun, relaxed and moreover, completely non-pretentious. The Fable’s theme certainly adds an element of playfulness to your night out, which perhaps translates into the overall ambience of the bar. The staff are friendly but not overbearing, there’s enough space for groups, and the service is quick – all in all, the experience was really easy.
It’s so easy for bars with themes to go too hard on the design of the space, often resulting in an awkward or OTT ambience for guests. The Fable doesn't do this. Though it has its theme, it’s not the main focus of the venue, and the food, drinks and space all speak for themselves, rather than relying on a gimmick.
So if there's one fable you buy into in London; for goodness sake let this be the one.