For the classic English pub grub, I recommend Geoffrey's, the pub at Hotel Marine Plaza, that lovely boutique hotel, with more suites than rooms, on Marine Drive.
Go for lunch, they have a set menu, Rs. 175 (with taxes, Rs. 225): a pint of draught, a soup, and an entree, plus rolls, nachos,mustard, salsa, red and green. All prepared under the expert direction of the city's number one chef, Sunil Chakravorty.
It's a lovely pub, very English, the kind you find at Notting Hill Gate, all leather and woodwork and brass and sporting prints and bar memorabilia. There's an island bar, a couple of gifted bartenders doing 15 different things simultaneously with two pairs of hands, tall bar stools and appropriate bar rail, four TV sets in the four corners of the room, sound switched off, a goodly crowd, the buzz of a busy bar, but no disco dancing, on the walls, old prints of race horses, rounding to hounds, a poster of His Master's Voice, a happy jumble of a Charrington Toby, old muskets, a cricket bat signed by the Australian team, silver, brewery labels.
The nights are busy, the afternoons are quieter. The fixed pub grub is in the afternoon. Get yourself a nice corner table. They will fetch you a pint of beer, and it's a real pint, no fooling, full 480 mlgs., not 300 mlgs that you get in most places. It comes in a large and heavy beer tumbler, careful how you lift it, more power to your elbow.
What happens if you are not a beer drinker? Shame on you, but never mind. You can have a dessert as a substitute, included in your meal price, a lovely chocolate mille feuille. F. & B. Rajesh Chopra believes in keeping his customers happy. (Outside, the fixed menu, a pint of draught costs Rs. 75, bottle 90, this is just for your information). I understand, on Friday-Saturday evenings, after 8 o'clock, the regulars also get kebabs and things on the house.
For soup, there is always Hungarian Goulash on the menu. It is the speciality of Chef Chakravorty, 26 years as area executive with the Oberoi. Anil Madhok, who is the executive head of the group (Sarovar Park Plaza), seems to have brought half his Oberoi staff with him. But to return to the goulash, it is a robust soup, practically a meal, with cubes of beef and potatoes, seasoned with paprika, oregano, tomato, red wine. Ordinarily, it is priced at Rs. 60. There is also a soup of the day, and, if you are lucky, it could be a lovely potato broth.
Items on the main course are limited, hence easy to decide. A chicken in the basket, roasted crisp, crepe jardiniere, burgers and sandwiches, if you want to keep your meal light. But there is also fish and chips, traditional pub fare. The fish used is pomfret, always fresh, even at the height of the monsoon (if they don't get it fresh, they take it off the menu). It comes with tartar sauce, lots of french fries, some salad, good Dujon mustard to go with it, tabasco. The pomfret portion is 220 gms., after the skin and bones have been removed. The filet is marinated in lemon juice, mustard, egg yoke, pepper, and it is bread crumbed, the crumbs coming from fresh bread. The tartar has gherkins and chopped shallots, there is an art in making tartar, not everybody can make it. The other main dish that you may select is chicken steak, served with morel sauce. Two breast pieces per serving, stuffed with minced chicken meat, nutmeg, seasoned with salt and pepper, flambed with cognac. Morels are among the most expensive black mushrooms, Rs. 6,000 per kilo. The sauce has a velvety texture to it, and the chicken breasts, flattened into steaks, are as tender as they come, the mince bursting in the mouth. You will have to make your choice, between fish and chips, chicken steak, and one more item -- an asparagus and spinach quiche. It's like a gateau, the rich dough made with flour, eggs and butter, and a stuffing of leaf spinach, mushrooms, asparagus. The whole thing is baked in the oven. Served with fried onion rings and tomato slices.
That's all. You don't want to eat too much, you've got to go back to the office. And don't forget to finish your beer.