A mix of creative and City types makes for an interesting crowd at The Fox on Paul Street; talk on one table may be about the latest dip in a company’s share price while on another it’s about ‘the trajectory of hip hop’. This is one of those pubs that characterises the different faces of London.
The Fox has a worn charm about it with an original central bar and sparse decor. It's very much in the bracket of those pubs rightly resisting a huge refit. Thankfully, owners have resisted the urge to move the bar and create space, which means The Fox retains its character and soul.
Even at lunchtime there is a busy hum to The Fox with regulars popping in for
food and a lunchtime pint. Clientele is divided between City workers and creative types, but they rub shoulders here seamlessly. These regulars are often welcomed by name, but in many respects service is laid back and inconsistent. One member of staff may be serving drinks, taking other orders or going out of their way to provide local recommendations, while another stands idly by, keeping customers waiting.
The upstairs dining room serves a reasonably priced food selection, which includes the likes of pork belly salad with potatoes (£9.50), linguine with asparagus, pesto and parmesan (£9.50) and rib-eye steak, thick cut chips and aioli towards the top end of the menu (£18.50). For the lunch crowd there is a well priced bar menu, which includes plentiful sandwiches on focaccia bread, sausage rolls and pork pies. The fried potato with red onion, sherry vinegar and paprika aioli is a hearty dish, perhaps overpowering for some, with raw red onion and a hefty kick of garlic. The sizeable sausage roll is a meal in itself, but with piccalilli in short supply and no alternative offered it's an example of where service could be improved.
A full wine list and mainstream lager offerings on tap is supported by two or three ales on the pump. The ale selection may not be huge but the Harvey's Best and Otter are solid choices and are well kept.
The Last Word
The Fox, while a decent enough pub, could be a lot better. It’s a popular choice that doesn't seem to lack custom, but with a little more attention to detail in terms of service and the food and drink options, it could reach its full potential.