The Horniman at Hays, near London Bridge
Hays Galleria, Unit 26, London SE1 2HD – closest station London Bridge
Part of the Nicholson Group, The Horniman at Hays is a former brewhouse which dates back to the 17th Century. A wonderful English pub with internal seating arranged over several levels. The staircase is a stunning feature.
The Seating Areas
As a solo diner, this was a great place for me. There was a choice of small tables by the windows near the bar area, perfect for watching the world go by. Or there were some high tables with bar stools, ideal for solo dining. The other tables weren’t too close together either so actually, even sitting in one of the busier areas would have been good. TV screens were dotted around with subtitles and varied music played, including some reggae, ska and acoustic. Clientele was a mix of solo diners, couples and families. A busy restaurant with a friendly atmosphere.
Food and drink orders are taken at the bar. As a solo diner I was pleased there was suitable seating close to the bar. Otherwise I may have lost my table or had to leave something at the table to secure it. I’m not keen on leaving things unattended. The waiter brings cutlery etc to your table along with your food once ready.
Customer service wasn’t the best in my opinion. I was not informed of the daily fish specials when I was given my menu, I just happened to see a sign after ordering. Also, when I ordered my dessert, I asked if it could be served with ice cream rather than whipped cream and his response was ‘I suppose so’.
Priced between £5.75-7.25 for the single starters, though sharing plates are available for those in larger groups. Starters included calamari with lemon aioli and oak smoked chicken liver pate with thyme butter, pale ale chutney and farmhouse bread.
Both light and classic mains are available priced between £9-19.50. Dishes include a selection of steaks, fish and chips, mixed grill and salads. I chose the Gloucester Old Spot sausages with mashed potato and caramelised onion gravy. The potato was creamy, sausages had a slight herby taste to them and the gravy was rich and flavourful. I really enjoyed it.
A selection of meat, fish finger or sausage sandwiches are also available until 5pm. These are served with side salad, fries or house cooked crisps.
Desserts included Belgian chocolate brownie, sticky toffee pudding and salted caramel profiteroles. I chose the lemon tart with British blackcurrant curd and vanilla pod ice cream. It was delicious. The lemon topping was tart and complemented the sweet blackcurrant curd.
Would I Return?
Yes I would. Even though the service wasn’t the best, I enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. I was very comfortable here as a solo diner, but would equally be great with friends. I would be keen to try something from the daily fish specials too.
Suggested Further Reading:
Restaurants in London where I have dined solo
Hotels in London I can recommend
Things to do in London – that I have enjoyed doing alone