in2 Food: The Happenstance restaurant review


by Shane Champion

NESTLED  in Paternoster Square, close to St Paul’s Cathedral, is something of an enigma for London. Namely, The Happenstance, which lies in a completely traffic-free zone offering diners and casual drinkers alike the chance to socialize at any time of the day.

My wife and I were invited to sample the menu on a busy Friday lunchtime. It was a sunny day and the terrace was full to the brim with both drinkers and those looking for something more substantial. It should be pointed out that the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner pretty much around the clock so there’s always a time to be able to dine.

You can choose to sit at either bar stools, sofas or, as we did, conventional tables. The décor is bright and airy and features modern art, copper and faux fur creating a cool vibe.

Whilst perusing the menu we nibbled on some Italian Green Olives and Smoked Almonds as a pre-cursor to ordering.

For starter my wife chose the Prawn Lollipops with sweet chilli and soy whilst I opted for the Chorizo Scotch Egg with a smoked paprika mayonnaise. Both dishes were devoured enthusiastically.

Mains arrived. I had chosen the Wagyu Burger with blue cheese served with tomato chutney and sweet potato fries.
My wife had taken the more conservative route of Bangers and Mash with a red onion gravy. We were both pleased with our choices which were well presented and truly delicious.

The menu offers a wide selection of mains with something to suit the most varied of appetites including flatbreads, salads and steaks.
Relaxing and soaking up the atmosphere it was now time for dessert.

I couldn’t resist the often-maligned Knickerbocker Glory. I hadn’t seen this on a menu for quite some time. Layers of salted caramel ice cream, plum, honeycomb, cream & almonds is enough to satiate the most hungry of diners! The other side of the table saw the Chocolate Brownie with vanilla ice cream arrive. Pure indulgence is the best way to describe this and not for the faint-hearted.

All of the above was aided and abetted by a soft and delicate bottle of Mas Oliveras Tempranillo from Catalunya chosen from the impressive and style-driven wine list. Prices start at under £20 so there really is something to suit all budgets.

In summary, The Happenstance is a very ‘happening’ venue (pun intended) in a great location without the intrusion of traffic noise. Prices are very reasonable for the City and the staff are both welcoming and enthusiastic in equal measures – not something that can be levelled at many a restaurant in London.

So if you get the chance why not pop in and say hello.

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