London – Moon Under Water (Leicester Square)

We had several hours to kill before getting a train back to Norwich, so it seemed a sensible idea to get unhealthy amounts of coffee to ensure a wide awake approach to the rest of the day. There were, after all, several more pubs to get to.

The Moon Under Water, which is what George Orwell described a perfect pub as being, has been in this central West End location on Leicester Square since 1992. CAMRA mention that it was formerly a steak club and it’s also the first Wetherspoons which opened in the West End, so it’s done really well to last for thirty years. It’s a long and narrow pub and when we visited it wasn’t easy to find a seat, we got rather fortunate to get a table right near to the back.

Wetherspoons themselves have some history of this pub, noting:

“This famous square was laid out in 1670 by Lord Leicester. The first house on the site of this pub was occupied, in turn, by a Lord Chancellor, two princes and the famous Scottish surgeon John Hunter. ‘Hunter’s House’ was demolished in 1892 and replaced by the present building.”

I found this particularly interesting, as John Hunter was heavily involved in body snatching, a surgeon who didn’t ask any questions about where his bodies came from. His house here on Leicester Square was once used as his personal museum and he had a connected property at the rear of this house which was used as a dissecting house. That property was located on Castle Street, which has since been renamed Charing Cross Road.

A chicken wrap, chips and unlimited coffee was something like £6.59, which given the location really isn’t too bad. The chicken was a little light (I think they’d used one chicken strip instead of two, although I can’t say that I dwelled unnecessarily long over this), but it all tasted perfectly fine and was sufficient. The visit was more about the coffee than expecting any fine cuisine, although this is the first Wetherspoons I’ve seen with only one coffee machine, space is just very limited.

The service was efficient and polite, plates collected promptly and the pub environment was all clean and tidy. I have visited here before on a few occasions, but they were several years ago and I had forgotten the theatre posters which line the corridors to the toilets.

I had a little look at TripAdvisor to amuse myself, and there were some marvellous reviews, such as:

“We ordered chips and they came literally after 2 secs completely cold!!!”

I’d highly doubt it took “literally two seconds” if I’m being honest, but who knows….

Anyway, for those visiting central London and wanting a cheap and affordable option, with real ale and craft beer, there are many worse….