My friend, Barb, is currently vacationing in England with some family. While she was planning her trip, I started reminiscing about the last time I was there and how much I miss British pub food. In particular, I love the traditional curries and other Indian-inspired dishes that are such a staple. So, when I heard that Pub Royale in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood was going to be continuing that tradition on this side of the pond, I could not wait to check it out. Friday night I hopped the CTA Blue Line to Pub Royale which is about 4 blocks south of the Damen ‘L stop. The Division ‘L’ stop is also close by.
Pub Royale has a full bar, 4 signature Pimm’s Cup cocktails and an extensive beer list. Really, this is a beer-centric libations menu. There are domestic, local and U.K. brews available. I was really excited to find my new favorite Scottish ale on tap, Belhaven Weeheavy. Yay!!!. Check out the interesting beer board on the back wall. It reminds me of a board you would find in a train terminal. Very cool.
All of the drafts on tap are available in 2 size pours. Since I started my meal with the No. 3 Pimm’s Cup with Scotch, cinnamon, Angostura, lemon juice and muddled peaches, I decided to end it with this deliciously smooth and chocolately Weeheavy ale. Honestly, the fact that Pub Royale is serving Belhaven Weeheavy is what sold me on trying this place. I am so happy it got me in the door because the food was very tasty, too.
Here’s how my dinner went down:
I began with the lamb dumplings which were wonderful. The lamb was well-spiced. The sauce, a mixture of soy, chili oil and scallions, was a really nice complement.
Next, I ordered the eggplant curry over basmati rice which I was hoping would conjure up memories of the curry I enjoyed so much in London pubs. It did. Score! The eggplant was perfectly tender and not overcooked. The curry was earthy and spicy with a clean finish. I loved the addition of cashews, coconut and cilantro in the mix. I’ll be coming back for this one for certain.
The menu at Pub Royale is not large but it includes several other Indian-inspired dishes such as vegetarian and salt cod samosas, cucumber raita, chicken tikka kati rolls and a few naan dishes, to name a few. Also, this place is very affordable with these small plates ranging in price from only $3 – $16.
The space at Pub Royale is vibrant and eclectic. There are both bright and warm colors found in the leather chairs, floor paintings and Indian masks that line the walls. There is low, intimate lighting emanating from the very cool light fixtures. Also, I spied some interesting stuffed peacocks hanging around the bar (HA!). I am guessing these are a nod to the first exotic Indian birds brought back to Europe during the 16th Century and which wound up stuffed!
Seating at Pub Royale is largely communal and there is an ample outdoor patio which can accomodate 40 people.
I look forward to returning to Pub Royale again as it is a different, tasty, cozy, late-night refuge in bustling Wicker Park.
Pub Royale is located at 2049 W. Division St. It is open every day from 5pm – 2am (3am on Saturday). Click here for more information.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA Blue Line to Pub Royale. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!