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Sunday, 25 September 2011

London Restaurant Reviews - Mason & Taylor (Craft Beers and British Small-Eats in Shoreditch)


A craft beer and real ale bar, Mason & Taylor is the Shoreditch destination for those who, like me:

1. enjoy good quality craft beers without having to pay the earth for them
2. dislike watery lagers that taste of nothing
3. just cannot drink wine all the time (maybe I can but it is nice to have options…)
4. enjoy grazing on some good nosh while drinking

Mason & Taylor is becoming one of my favourite local bars since opening in December 2010. All its beers are supplied by independent brewers directly from their country of origin, with a particular focus on London microbreweries. 

There are 12 draught beers and ales on tap at all times, and a list of about 40 bottled beers including craft North American, British and Belgian beers that changes regularly. There is also a "Brewery of the Weekend" and 5 weekly guest ales. They also serve all their draught beers in taster flights of 3 or 6 x 1/3 pint glasses.

We always get to try at least one beer we have never heard of when we go there. On our latest visit, our new beer was a bottle of Duchesse de Bourgogne @ £4.50. This is a traditional Flemish red ale, oak aged for up to 18 months and 6.2% alcohol. We enjoyed the lovely cherry and chocolate flavours in this beer and the unusual tanginess akin to citrus fruit.

We also had one beer flight each - the first was a combination of Chimay White, Westmalle Dubbel and Odell Cutthroat Porter and the second included Brooklyn Lager, Rodenbach, and Sierra Nevada Porter. Most draught beers were priced at £3.80 per pint although the Belgian and American black beers were around double that. The cost of the flight depends on the combination of beers chosen, but is essentially the price of a pint divided by three.

To accompany our selection of fine beers, we ordered a medley of small plates. Food at Mason & Taylor is served tapas style rather than as traditional starters and main dishes, the exceptions to this being the weekend brunch, and the Sunday all day menu which includes several roast dinner options. On a weekday, the recommendation is to order around 3 small plates each, but we were so tempted by the menu that we ended up with 10 dishes!

The food is classic British cooking with a modern interpretation. Dishes are reasonably priced at £4.50 - £5 each. Produce is seasonal, and the meats, fish and seafood that we ate tasted ultra-fresh and delicious. Of the 10 dishes we tried, we each had our favourites, but we both agreed that they were all good and perfect with the beers we chose. These are the dishes we had:

Potted crab with capers and toast @ £5 – scrumptious and a steal at the price!

House-smoked duck breast with ruby chard and pea salad @ £5 – the duck had a subtle smokiness that tasted well with the earthy chard.

Wild Mushrooms on Toast @ £4.50 - totally delectable but I wish there were more mushrooms!

Jersey Royal and crayfish salad with heritage tomatoes @ £5 – this was a lovely and substantial salad with great flavours and stunning presentation.

Devilled chicken livers on toast @ £5 – we really enjoyed this, the liver was meaty and perfectly cooked (very tender), and worked well with its spicy dressing.

Woodpigeon breast with carrot and beetroot salad and raisin jus @ £5 – this was delicious. I loved the combination of gamey umami with the sweetness from the beetroot and raisins.

Nettle and goat's cheese tart with red onion chutney @ £5.

Chilled Bloody Mary Soup @ £4 – the weakest link in our opinion but still good.

Eton Mess @ £4.

Chocolate Pudding @ £4.50.

Cost: Based on 3-4 dishes per person, a meal at Mason & Taylor will cost about £15 to £20 per person (excluding drinks). Many draught pints are priced from £3.80.

Likes: excellent range of craft American, Belgian and British beers. Great food. Possibility of ordering many small dishes to graze on. Friendly service. Reasonable prices. Free Wi-Fi. Good and affordable wine list with every option also sold by the glass.

Dislikes: I am not quite sure about the industrial décor, it feels more like student canteen than New York loft apartment.

Verdict: great Shoreditch destination for craft beer and British food fans, I enjoyed all the small plates on offer and the selection of reasonably priced beers. A local favourite. Very highly recommended.

Mason & Taylor on Urbanspoon


  1. That looks awesome. I must take Colin. Oh, hi Kavey!

  2. A fiver for all that crab? Yes please! Definitely taking the boyfriend here soon :-)

  3. good posting with lots of dishes. For ur easy access, I could find the sample menu list of Mason & Taylor. Happy.

  4. I always walk past this place, but never had the chance to dine in! Thank you so much for this great post! The food looks immense, esp the chocolate pudding! mmmmmmm chocolate.

  5. Love this place for its great beer selection, the food looks great too. Some great pics there Luiz!

  6. This is my usual post-work Friday afternoon destination. Great beers & good well priced food. I agree with everything in the above review.

  7. This post has brought smiles to my face and warmed the cockles of my heart! and bonus, that it's just round the corner from work....we need more places like this in London!


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