It has been a whirlwind of a month – my birthday came and went, my family came and (sadly) went and I am in the process of changing jobs. All of which were and are quite exciting, but Ciaran and I haven’t had a ton of time to just sit back and relax so when we were asked if we wanted to try out The Happenstance for dinner near St. Paul’s, we were definitely on board for a date night.
Located on Ludgate Hill, just a hop and a skip from St. Paul’s, The Happenstance is a beautiful restaurant and bar that plays on an industrial-chic vibe. Oh and they also have a deli and florist too – it truly ticks all the boxes. As you walk in, you’ll be met with gorgeous, dimly lit chandeliers, a sweeping bar area, exposed brick walls, comfy lounge chairs and super friendly service. It felt as though we had been transplanted to a gastropub in NYC. The hostess led us to our table, which was up a small flight of stairs and in a completely separate dining area. From the outside, you would never guess just how big this restaurant is, but it is huge!
I really loved the atmosphere at The Happenstance. The dining room was lit up with candles on each table, which created a romantic, yet relaxed vibe. There is an open plan kitchen so you can peek in and see all the food being made in action and there is a quirky combination of long tables, round tables, little nooks and other small bar areas to have drinks in. The background music was super upbeat as well, which added a nice touch to the overall lovely atmosphere.
As we sat down, we were happily greeted with two glasses of prosecco and promptly talked through the newly launched “September Refresh” menu, featuring delicious and comforting autumnal dishes such as Chorizo Scotch Egg, Venison Pie and Butternut Squash Risotto to name a few. We chose a starter, main and dessert each and opted for the wine pairing, though the new cocktails sound amazing – think Spiced Orchid Sours, Gingerman cocktails, S’Mores, Goldfish in a Bag – you get the gist. The cocktails have a super creative flair and we are definitely going to go back and try some of them out along with their awesome bar snack menu. But anyways, on to what we indulged in on this particular occasion.
I went for the Chorizo Scotch Egg with smoked paprika. Ever since moving to the UK, I’ve become a huge fan of Scotch Eggs. The outside was crispy and the combination of chorizo and smoked paprika gave this scotch egg some heat, which I really liked. I usually like the egg a little more runny as you cut into it, but this was still just as delicious. It came with a mustard aioli, which also added another element of flavour and overall, the combination worked really well together. If you order this dish, chances are you won’t want to share.
Ciaran went for the Wild Mushroom Bruschetta, which was topped with what looked like shitake mushrooms. We both loved how buttery and savoury the bruschetta was and both of us being greedy, only wished there had been more! It was a refreshing change from the usual tomato bruschetta.
Before our mains made their way out, we chose a light and crisp white wine to sip on. This Picpoul de Pinet was a lovely, dry white and paired well with what was to come.
I ordered the Roast Cod with brown shrimp and gremoulata mash. The fish was cooked very well and was super tender and flavourful. The brown shrimp added even more flavour to the dish and the gremoulata mash potatoes were hearty, delicious and I loved the buttery, garlic flavour. Fish and mash potatoes are such a classic combination and the Happenstance elevated the two really well.
The star dish of the evening was Ciaran’s Venison Pie with spiced red cabbage. The pastry itself was to die for and there was no soggy bottom in sight.
The gravy was the cherry on top and as we broke into this heavenly little pie, juicy, tender, flavourful venison came spilling out. The pastry was crunchy, buttery and delicious along with the venison and it was one of the best pies I’ve tried in London. The Red Cabbage must be accounted for as well, because it was fabulous. Ciaran loathes red cabbage, but loved this side dish. We think it must have been cooked in soy sauce, paprika and a few other spices to give it such an intense flavour. Overall, this entire dish was incredible. If you go to The Happenstance, order this pie, you won’t regret it.
All of the dessert options on the September Refresh menu look divine and I decided to go with the Pecan Tart with a side of vanilla bean ice cream. Wow, I loved this dessert. The crust tasted like a delicious, buttery shortbread with hints of caramel and loaded with pecans. It was served on the warmer side and the combination of the vanilla ice cream with the tart was heavenly.
Ciaran went for the Creme Brulee with shortbread. He only let me steal one, small bite, so I think that speaks for itself! The bite I did try, was fabulous and he said it was silky, creamy and delicious. Great way to end our dinner on a sweet note.
Our entire dinner was fantastic, from the ambiance, to the food to the service – it was all wonderful. The Happenstance is a great restaurant and bar with a huge menu to choose from – there is literally something for everyone! It’s a great place to unwind after a day in the office, or the ideal spot for drinks and bar snacks after a day touring around London – I wish I would have taken my Mom when she was visiting! No matter the reason, The Happenstance just happens to be an awesome go-to spot.
The Happenstance | 1 Ludgate Hill | London | EC4M 7AA | Book Now
We were guests of The Happenstance, but all views and opinions are my own.