I overheard the guy at a neighbouring table tell his date that he swore they were walking into a pub. And who could blame him; I could have sworn the same thing because from the quiet street in the middle of St John’s Wood, Crocker’s Folly does look like a pub. However, pass through those heavy front doors and you too might have that ‘we’re not in Kansas anymore’ feeling because this is nothing like my neighbourhood pub. The mixture of marble and wood panelling lovingly retained from the original Crown Hotel created by Frank Crocker feels lavish but passable, though the chandeliers that loom over each of the dining rooms are undeniably ostentatious. I am a magpie, so naturally I love this glitz.
In case you are unperturbed by the surroundings, then the other dead giveaway that you have not stepped into a pub is in the food. No roasts, no bangers, no Thai takeover night, instead you will be greeted by an extensive array of Lebanese mezzes and grills, and a cocktail menu straight from any Soho lair. Between you and me, I’m utterly confused for the first fifteen minutes that I’m sat in Crocker’s Folly. The location, the exterior, the interior, the menu – none of it seems to fit together but perhaps that’s the folly which makes it work. Sometimes it is best not to overthink these things and just eat… I can forgive all manner of sins and silliness as long as I am well fed and watered.