The Crusting Pipe may strike as a slightly peculiar name for a pub to the uninitiated. It conjures wizards and misfits in Potteresque landscapes, brewing ideas over butter beers and sorcery.
But no – the name is derived from the barrel used to make ‘crusted port’ – a wine rich with sediment and not so common these days. The pub is situated on the lower floor of Covent Garden Market, where opera singers manqué throw their voices into the arena, hoping, perhaps, that a keeper of the ivory-towered Royal Opera House might realise their talents.
In the meantime they make for good entertainment as you savour your pint, or your glass of Picpoul. This Davy’s pub has a great and very reasonably priced wine list so you really ought to take advantage. There are ample nooks and corners in which to enjoy a tipple or two.
The menu offers British pub classics, as you would expect, but with interesting variants too. A starter of Seared scallops came with rightly spicy chorizo and soothing pea puree. A classic Prawn cocktail was well rendered, with fat king prawns along with traditional shrimp.
Steaks are by way of Royal Warrant holder Donald Russell, and it tells in the flavour. A bold peppercorn sauce is the perfect foil, as well as creamy, dreamy mash. Albert was very happy, and it certainly wasn’t me inducing such euphoria. Vegetarians need not fear, however – Risotto came with plentiful meaty wild mushrooms and subtle blue goats’ cheese.
Don’t leave without sampling a few of the cheese, with a glass of port to hand too. You’d be foolish not to.