In a previous life it was Base One, and before that a couple of similar incarnations called Bar Excellence and Bar 21. It is on Abbey Orchard Street, across from New Scotland Yard. The other incarnations didn’t work because its owners conceived it as a sports bar, and imagined youngsters ten deep round the bar drinking designer beer with pieces of lemon or lime sticking out of the bottle. The problem is that there are not enough of them in Westminster. The market would support a place with wooden cubicles and Tiffany lampshades, where middle aged and middle income civil servants could entertain their colleagues, and MPs their staff.
It’s been closed for a year or so, and is a little more intimate this time. It is called The Abbey (being within sight of Westminster Abbey). We tested its lunch menu, having between us an OK Greek salad, a steak and chips (which came rare, as requested), and a pasta Neapolitano, which was nicely sharp tasting. The Concho y Toro Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon (13%) was velvety smooth.
The verdict was that it’s good enough to make us regulars, given its proximity. It isn’t brilliant, and they could lose the TV screens, but it’s a welcome return as it is. Given that it’s next door to Conservative Campaign Headquarters, and close to Labour’s Central Office, there might be enough local trade to sustain it.