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After temporarily closing last year, The Pawn re-launched last fall with a completely new concept. Gone are the old Pawn’s brassy accents, dark wood floors and furniture, oversized armchairs and plaid uniforms. In their place is a sleek, modern design that’s both sophisticated and comfortable. The spaces are open, with grey concrete, light wood, and large artworks by Stanley Wong gracing the walls. The restaurant in particular is dotted with greenery. While the establishment’s subtle luxury make it an ideal space for business lunches, it’s also frequently filled with young couples and groups of friends
Just like the décor, The Pawn’s menu has been completely refreshed. Instead of casual yet excellently done British comfort food, it’s filled with modern continental classics, from salmon confit to Wagyu tomahawk steak. Expect plenty of pretty plating and flourishes that are striking without being ostentatious. The appetizer section of the menu is full of staples that you would expect to find at the most elegant of fine-dines—duck confit, foie gras, and tuna tartare. The mains and desserts are where the restaurant reveals its origins as a casual yet chic British gastropub, featuring offerings such as the beef burger “extraordinaire” with smoked cheddar, onions and plum jam and macaroni and cheese—with the option to add lobster, of course. While the beef burger—served with fries thick enough to be considered more like potato wedges than fries—is already enough to have us coming back, The Pawn’s take on a tried and true British classic, the sticky toffee pudding, is also delicious, with just the right level of sweetness. In addition to these classics are more complex dishes that allow Aikens to show off his creativity—for example, the cod, cockles, chorizo and red pepper is a smoky and mildly spicy dish that’s a wonderful and unexpected blend of unusual flavours.
An interesting variety of whites and reds, along with a handful of champagnes, rosés and ports, fill out the wine menu, originating from well-known wine regions such as Australia and New Zealand, the USA, Europe, and South Africa, as well as more innovative sources such as Hungary, England and Portugal.
Our server was pleasant, friendly, and able to answer our questions about the menu, explaining dishes to us and recommending wines to go with our meal. At times we had a little trouble attracting her attention, however, considering the modest amount of diners that evening.
A meal for two with a drink each came to around $1,200—considering that the dishes included relatively simple offerings such as a beef burger and cold summer soup.