Slowly but surely, White City is becoming a gourmet destination rather than the setting for Auntie’s Last Stand. White City House, Net A Porter and Westfield may have been the catalyst but the results are impressive - including single origin espresso at Flying Horse, pitch perfect plant-burgers at Patty & Bun and high-end sushi at Endo at Rodonta. But perhaps the loveliest new addition to the area comes in the welcoming gastropub, The Broadcaster, from the same team as the hugely popular Lighterman in Kings Cross.
It is fair to say the opening has been anything but straightforward - they opened the site in October, complete with an informal pub on the ground floor, dining room on 1st, private rooms on 2nd and rooftop terrace up above. They built up some momentum, a local following… and then the variant hit. Every Christmas party cancelled, in one case losing 1,200 covers in a single week.
Thankfully The Broadcaster is back (bar the roof terrace) and, if you squint a little, it is almost as if the pandemic hadn’t happened. On a recent wet weekday, the welcome was warm and genuine - an agreeable crowd of creatives, reunited friends, amateur five a side footballers, cityboys, cyclists and more. After months of planning and pre-booking every last element, it is wonderful to find somewhere that actively encourages you to walk in unprompted.
Cocktails are a cut above. The Palomino Plum had the frigid thrill of William Carlos Williams icebox, with Buffalo Trace bourbon pairing beautifully with Manzanilla sherry. The Apple & Mint Swizzle is a sharp rum-soaked zap round a spring orchard and Star Of The Show - pineapple and passionfruit with East London vodka in a Martini glass - is refined and retro in equal measure. It is the kind of thing you can imagine Pan’s People sipping after a lengthy dance routine frugging to Herman’s Hermits. Beers are a more considered selection: it is wonderful to see both Five Point from Hackney and Braybrooke Lager on tap, plus Lucky Saint and Big Drop for those of us enduring dry January. Wine list is contemporary, pan-European and well considered - there is a decent orange wine selection, English sparkling from Gusbourne and a great Austrian Grüner Veltliner.
The grapefruit and mineral tang of the recommended full bodied Mâcon-Solutré-Pouilly perfectly cut through the flatbreads - one with wild mushroom, truffle, feta and onion, its pair the spicy Cotswold sausage with watercress. It’s a perfect pub snack - not as heavy as a pizza slice but still packed with flavour. The burger is deftly done and delivered neatly, and fish n triple cooked chips are good, the latter being decorated with seasoning which gave the haddock below another dimension. Desserts looked promising: poached pear and chestnut tart with vanilla cream and a British cheeseboard, complete with apple & raisin chutney and caraway seed crackers, will leave you feeling vaguely patriotic.
What’s important to recognise is this is just the beginning. The full menu and the dining room opens in February - the roasted Cornish halibut with colcannon and smoked bacon sounds particularly good. The rooftop bar will open in the summer allowing everyone a birds' eye view on everything going on in the area: including, from the sounds of things, TV workers planning their next move.