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Crocker’s Folly: Epic Lebanese in St John’s Wood

At the end of a quiet residential street in St John’s Wood lies a gateway to lost times. The signage makes you think of a traditional British pub. It’s a bit of artistic license though. Step over the threshold and you’re transported into a bygone era with opulence, old school glamour, and the most humongous chandeliers.

St John’s Wood pub

St John's Wood pub | Crocker's Folly

St John's Wood pub | Crocker's Folly

Crocker’s Folly is housed in a Grade II listed Victorian building which dates back to the late 1800s. Local entrepreneur Frank Crocker originally constructed the Crown Hotel after hearing the new terminus for the Grand Central railway would be located in St John’s Wood. Alas, it wasn’t to be, since local protests saw it pushed to Marylebone instead.

Crocker's Folly in St John's Wood

Back to present day, the Maroush group have respectfully renovated the building’s grandeur. I’m talking magnificent marble fireplaces, beautifully part-gilded ceilings, glorious wood panelling and opulent pillars. Yes, it’s safe to say one of the grandest surroundings we’ve enjoyed at Sunday lunch.

St John's Wood pub | Crocker's Folly

St John's Wood pub | Crocker's Folly

We’re major fans of Lebanese cuisine and my eyes lit up at the extensive à la carte menu.  On a Sunday they also serve a traditional Sunday lunch. We were already drawn in by the mezze options, plus the array of vegetarian choices totally swung it for me.

St John's Wood pub | Crocker's Folly

Olives, and the traditional Maroush hummus (£6.50) served with hot, soft pitas kicked off the proceedings. Between Mr S and Radha a.k.a the hummus fiends, it was clear I wouldn’t get much of a look-in. So I tactically ordered a bowl of the Moutabel Baba Ghanouj (£7.25). The grilled aubergine purée mixed with sesame paste, lemon juice and topped with pomegranate jewels was a creamy dreamy spread which yes, I admit I mainly devoured myself.

St John's Wood pub | Crocker's Folly

The juice selection on offer impressed the girls too. I’m often faced with groans from my eldest when she’s only ever offered orange and apple in some restaurants. There were all kinds of exotic options available here, and mango took the prize.

St John's Wood pub | Crocker's Folly

The big kids didn’t feel left out either with the interesting wine list on offer. We stuck to the Lebanese theme and opted for a bottle of white from the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. The fruity and floral tones worked perfectly with the flavours from the mezze.

St John's Wood pub | Crocker's Folly

The rest of the food arrived together, which is always great with mezze. One of my pet hates is when it arrives in dribs and drabs. You end up eating one small plate at a time instead of enjoying the full technicolour taste extravaganza.

St John's Wood pub | Crocker's Folly

We liked the sound of the Kibbeh so much we ordered two varieties – the pumpkin and potato and spinach (£8). They were small nuggets of deep-fried joy. Once you bit into the crispy coating to reach the flavoursome mixture of cracked wheat, onions, spices and either the pumpkin or potato and spinach fillings – one was never going to be enough. My favourites were the spinach and potato with the pumpkin ones slightly on the sweet side for my palette. The rest of the squad weren’t so picky, mind you and they scored a ten with the gang.

St John's Wood pub | Crocker's Folly

Can you even call it a mezze without halloumi in the mix? The thick grilled morsels were all on the right side of chewy and salty.

St John's Wood pub | Crocker's Folly

And Asha was in her element at the sight of her favourite ‘squeaky cheese.’

The sambousek cheese pastries (£7) were rather uninspiring and in the words of Radha ‘very bland’. On the other hand the king prawns doused in a spicy tomato sauce (£9.50) were a big hit with the girls and Mr S too.

St John's Wood pub | Crocker's Folly

We ordered two salads the tabbouleh (£7), fresh parsley, cracked wheat, mint, onion and tomato salad coated in a lemon juice and olive oil dressing. Although the one I practically licked the bowl clean with was the fattoush (£7.50). I couldn’t get enough of the crispy toasted Lebanese bread topping. And the sumac, lemon and olive oil dressing made the lettuce, tomato, cucumber, mint, radish and onion sing!

St John's Wood pub | Crocker's Folly

There was no way I’d be missing out on the Lebanese version of the pimped up sautéed potato. The batata harra (£6.50) was coated in garlic, chilli and sweet pepper adding a vibrant twist to the crispy bites.

St John's Wood pub | Crocker's Folly

And if you’re a follower of the Curious Pixie you’ll know all too well I wouldn’t be leaving without sampling my number one tipple in a place known for its cocktails. It did not disappoint either –  smooth, creamy with a perfect balance of sweet and bitter. Tea and madeleines have their place  but trust me, an espresso martini is a superb partner for a plate of baklava (£5).

St John's Wood pub | Crocker's Folly

Crocker’s Folly in St John’s Wood is not all about the packaging, for sure you’ll be hard pressed to find a more lavish setting for your Sunday family meal. The food lives up to its surroundings too. Lebanese dishes beautifully presented, full of flavour and delivered with an attentive service. We certainly left with our bellies full and a spring in our step.

Do you enjoy Lebanese cuisine? What’s your favourite dish? Let me know in the comments box below.

signature

Crocker’s Folly | 24 Aberdeen Place | St John’s Wood | London | NW8 8JR

www.crockersfolly.com

Disclaimer: Our meal was complimentary, however, all views, opinions and photos are my own and remain a trademark of the Curious Pixie.

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St John's Wood pub | Crocker's Folly

9 Comments

  • Out Of Depth Dad 13th November 2017 at 7:01 pm

    This looks like my kind of food! Seriously impressed! I’ve very jealous.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 15th November 2017 at 3:36 pm

      I love sharing plates, so mezze is one of my favourite cuisines.

  • Elinor aka Beach Hut Cook 13th November 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Looks a very grand interior. I love the sound of the food too. Looks like a feast.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 15th November 2017 at 3:35 pm

      It was lovely Elinor. Nice way to spend a Sunday.

  • Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... 16th November 2017 at 9:27 pm

    I’ve only ever tried Lebanese food once but I really enjoyed all of the flavours. I am a vegetarian so it looks like I would be well catered for!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 17th November 2017 at 11:48 pm

      If you’re ever in the area you must go, so many options for a veggie.

  • Jess Munday 28th November 2017 at 7:49 pm

    I love Lebanese food! Your photos look amazing, the food looks so tasty and fresh x

  • Laura Bailey 7th December 2017 at 1:45 pm

    What a great range of dishes, it all looks delicious!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 7th December 2017 at 3:16 pm

      I love Lebanese cuisine and this place ranks pretty high.

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