Photos: This New British Pub In Echo Park Has Delicious Fish Head Pie
When we think of British pubs in the U.S. we can't help but imagine dark and divey watering holes with sticky counters, where you can get a pint of Guinness and a mediocre plate of fish and chips. But a new Echo Park pub is trying to be much more than that with an updated take on old school comfort food—including a fish pie with a head sticking out of it—and some creative U.K.-themed rooms like their Downton Abbey-esque dining area.
The Lost Knight, which took over Barragan's—a spot once favored for its cheap and strong margaritas—sits steps away from Gold Room. The pub opened up earlier this month, and it looks dramatically different from the Mexican restaurant that once occupied the space.
Now, there are four different rooms, each designed to be a little different. To the left is a room that is resembles maids' quarters you might find in Downton Abbey. The walls are adorned with copper pots and pans, and decorated with blue-and-white Victorian plates and silverware. Mismatched metal chairs surround the tables covered in white. The next room over is their library; it has a bar in the back that's decorated with old books and flowered teapots. The Lost Knight has kept some parts of Barragan's, like their ornate booths that now rest in a narrow room that's akin to a throwback train car. And finally, over to the right, there's a classic British pub (something like Harry Potter's Hog's Head Inn), with long wooden tables as well as barrels that serve as mini-tables. Old-timey clocks hang around the space, and vintage typewriters are the centerpieces for the tables. It's actually kind of fun to get to choose which room you'd like to spend time in for whichever experience you'd like to have, whether it be a romantic dinner or throwing back beers with some buddies.
The beer and cocktails program is helmed by Barbara's at the Brewery's Jessica Sandoval. Most of the beers she's selected for the menu are from local craft breweries, and many are English-style beers. Sandoval's included some of her favorite brews, from the likes of Craftsman Brewing and Noble Ale Works to newcomers on the scene like Three Weavers and MacLeod. She tells LAist that MacLeod purely makes English-style beers and that the Lost Knight is the only bar serving MacLeod's ale in a cask engine. The only non-local beer the pub carries is Dupont Posca Rustica's Gruit Spiced Ale because it's a nod to the old-fashioned Scottish beer that was once made with herbs instead of hops.
Sandoval has also carefully crafted her cocktails list. She says she's tried 100 different cocktails that were traditionally English, and settled on the eight she loved the most. Most of the libations are gin-based since it's the "quintessential spirit in England," she says, and each one tells a little story. We tried the refreshing and balanced Pegu Club, a mixture of gin, orange curacao, angostura and blood orange bitters and lime juice. Back in the late 1800s, the cocktail was served to the British army at a gentleman's club in Burma (now Myanmar). The pub also gives a nod to James Bond's signature drink from 1951's Casino Royale—Vesper, a gin, vodka and Lillet Blanc concoction; as well as the Dubonnet—a mixture of the fermented wine and gin that Queen Elizabeth was known for loving, and "throwing three or four back at a time," Sandoval says.
As for the food, Executive Chef Gabriel Cappelli has put together some British comfort dishes. You'll find items like sausage rolls, shepherd's pie, and stewed brisket, but farm-to-table and vegetarian options are also available. There were a couple of dishes that although were prepared well, were nothing out of the ordinary: the Angels on Horseback—bergamot-soaked prunes filled with pear compote and Stilton blue cheese—is a vegetarian alternative to the Devils on Horseback (which includes bacon), and their Winter Vegetable Salad is a fresh and flavorful mix of roasted rutabaga, parsnips and beets. However, a dish that really stands out is their traditional Stargazy Pie—a delicious and addictive fish head's pie that we're still thinking about long after we first tasted it. It might be a little startling to see it at first, as the head of the trout and the tail are sticking out of the puff pastry pie (like it's gazing up at the sky, hence the name). Legend has it that back in the day, the fish would poke out so people would know that a fish was used in the pie. The buttery crust covers a creamy mixture of whole Idaho river trout and a roast parsnip puree. It's a dish that shouldn't be missed.
The Lost Knight is located at 1538 W Sunset Blvd., Echo Park, (213) 278-0408. It's open from Mondays to Thursdays from 11 a.m. to midnight, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Beers, wine and cocktails range from $6 to $18, and food from $6 to $24.