The Newman Arms in Fitzrovia has been acquired by the renown East End brewer Truman’s. Peter Morrell has lunch there and enjoys the food, atmosphere and of course the beer
The name Truman’s has been synonymous with the production of beer since 1666 and the site of their original brewery in London’s Brick Lane is still there but is now an arts and venue centre. Truman’s was at one time the world’s largest brewer but changing tastes and complexities of finance saw the name become dormant at the end of the last century.
In 2010 a pair of enterprising businessmen, James Morgan and Michael-George Hemus, bought the name and started brewing high quality beers that were in line with current trends and tastes. In 2013 they opened a new Truman’s brewery in Hackney.
Truman’s recently acquired the Newman Arms in London’s Fitzrovia, a pub with its own fascinating history. It was built in 1730 and was once a brothel, as a nod to its past there is a painting of an old fashioned ‘lady of the night’ on a bricked up window at the top of the building. Past clients of the pub have included Dylan Thomas and his prodigious thirst, George Orwell who modelled the pub The Proles on it for his novel 1984 and Winston Churchill who popped by occasionally.
So this marriage of historic pub and heritage brewer has been a match made in heaven.
I recently had lunch at the Newman Arms to both taste the beer and sample the menu. I was with a good friend and we started in the bar on the ground floor for a pre-lunch beer and there were a lot to choose from. They were a mix of keg and cask, some of the beers are brewed year round while others are seasonal.
Four beers of note are the Roller IPA, an American style ale featuring both U.S. And Australian hops, expect tropical and pine notes from this beer. The RAW lager had a distinctly continental pilsner taste coming from traditional German hops which gave it good fruit and yeasty flavours.
The Captain Lockwood Session IPA is a lower strength ale with a good bitter finish from three hops including cascade, gooseberry and citrus aromas are strongly represented. The final beer and my favourite was Bow Bells Citrus Pale Ale. It has orange and lemon flavours in abundance, provided by the citra hop and also has a spiciness which comes from the motueka hop which is closely related to the saaz hop found in many Belgian beers,
The use of the these fashionable hops together with good choices of malts are bang on the money in terms of the tastes drinkers are looking for in a beer.
We went upstairs to the dining rooms. A cosy space with wood panelled walls and scrubbed tables. It’s easy to imagine Orwell here swapping ideas with his friends and discussing the state of the world.
If you just want some nibbles with your food then there are marinated mixed olives, hummus with pitta bread and sausage rolls. For something more substantial there were a number of starters including smoked salmon and a cured meat board. My dining companion and I chose the chicken liver pate served with toast. This had a good, strong flavour and I particularly liked the bread.
For the main course the emphasis is very much on pies and bagels which have traditionally been eaten in the East End where the beer is brewed.
The bagels were filled with salt beef or smoked salmon and looked tempting but we chose the pies. There was a vegetarian option available but my friend had one filled with steak and Truman’s Runner ale and I had the chicken, ham and mushroom.
Both of the pies were delicious, the melt in the mouth short crust pastry top concealed the contents of tender meat and a rich sauce. The pies were served with a generous dollop of mashed potato, carrots, greens and a thick onion gravy. This was pub food at its best.
Although there were plenty of beers to match with the food we took a look at the wine list which featured mainly French and English whites and red. We paired the pies with the house red, the Maison De La Paix 2017 Carignan from France’s Languedoc region. This was light and fruity with a good balance of acidity.
The dessert was a cheese board that we really didn’t have room for as the portions of the first two courses had been quite large.
The lunch had been very enjoyable, the staff are all very friendly, there was a sense of history about the place and the food with Truman’s beers made it a genuine London experience.
The Newman Arms
23 Rathbone Street
Fitzrovia, W1T 1NG
0207 436 9777