The Central London branch of All Bar One is a fine example of how right this chain can get it, with a constant stream of local workers and Oxford Street shoppers grabbing a quick pint or bite.
All Bar One on New Oxford Street is in a great position, less than a minute from Tottenham Court Road station. As you enter the main bar, it’s quite narrow but around the corner you will discover a fairly large square room with plenty of tables. There is also a charming mezzanine level with another twelve tables of varying size, material and shape.
The decor is the standard ABO mix of brass tabletops, natural wood, leather bench seats, and oversized antique frames holding the chalkboard menu. A quirky little touch you don’t find in other bars is the way the food menus come on a novel A4 brown paper pad, which can be found hanging on the wall in several places around the bar.
As generic as All Bar One is, it does have a warm, friendly feel; somewhat unexpected for a chain pub. The fast moving mix of clientele gives it a buzzing atmosphere, especially in the evenings when people want to wash the stresses of the working day away in a Central London location.
The menu here has an enticing smorgasbord of options. If you’re not too hungry, order the mouthwatering collection of tapas from £3-£7: the yakatori chicken served with a sticky rice cake, drizzled with dipping sauce comes highly recommended. The sweetness of the sauce cuts through the chargrilled flavour of the chicken, peppers and onion, with a real melt in the mouth texture. Also try the butterfly tiger prawns marinated in garlic – succulent and juicy. The only thing you may find is the food can sometimes be a little on the cool side in the peak times when service is a little slower.
The main meals change with the season, but generally offer a well-balanced selection of fish, meat and vegetarian options. The burgers are a mainstay of the menu and are very good - homemade, rustic and on the large side with toppings such as pesto and mozzarella, or bacon and guacamole, all cooked to your liking and served with hot, crispy French fries.
However, a particularly good option for lunch is the sandwich selection, which offers rump steak, chicken, crayfish or goat’s cheese – they even throw in a cheese and ham sarnie for good measure, for when you just want something simple.
All the food here is fresh, tasty and comes in large portions, and the friendly waitress table service is very welcome after a hard day's work!
There is plenty to choose from at All Bar One, whether you fancy a pint or a sophisticated glass of wine or two.
Beers on tap include a wide range from several different countries such as Jupiler Blue – a light, fresh low alcohol pilsner from Belgium. You’ll also find Amstel, a German Paulaner, an Italian Peroni, Guiness, and a crisp but bitter Czech Staropramen. The bottled beers are a diverse bunch, too, ranging from a Belgium raspberry fruit beer to a traditional English malty ale.
On the extensive wine list you can choose from a large range of whites, reds, roses, a prosecco and Champagne. The Terracotta Francesco, an Italian Pinot Grigio rose, comes highly recommended: a pale pink wine at just £17 a bottle or £4.30 a glass with a delicate, dry flavour tinged with vanilla.
The Last Word
A decent example of a chain pub, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the choice and quality of the food and drink available.