A restaurant that's right in the heart of the City that's open 24 hours - it's Polo Bar.
There’s only one place in the City to go to when you want a quick takeaway or a nice cheap sit down meal. The place is Polo Bar on Bishopsgate.
For those of us who work in the City, we’ve walked past Polo Bar hundreds of times. Located directly across the street from Liverpool Street Station, and next door to the venerable late night after drinking fast food shop KFC - Polo Bar’s unique sign is like a beacon to the hungry wheeling dealing masses of the City.
Polo Bar’s menu literally has something for everyone, however, it’s their breakfast menu that I highly recommend you try. If you’ve got time during the week, or perhaps are in the City on the weekend, Polo Bar serves delicious and very filling dishes. Dropping in for a leisurely Saturday brunch with the lovely Severine, we were welcomed by the very friendly international staff (Poland, Portugal, Italian, etc.) and sat at a cozy table on the first floor overlooking Bishopsgate (Polo Bar consists of three floors, narrow seating areas but cozy nonetheless). We absolutely had to try the pancakes. The description on the menu seemed too good to be true - and they were! With four types of pancakes on the menu, we went with the Royal Pancakes, which came with fresh forest berries, vanilla cream and fruit coulis - and they were simply amazing. Fluffy, nice-sized and delectable. I asked for some syrup as one does when eating pancakes, which added more sweetness to my dish, which is served on a flat cutting board. So if you do add syrup to your pancakes, make sure it doesn’t drip off the sides! Other pancake choices include toffee caramel, a stack with lemon juice and sugar, cookies and cream, and the New Yorker (cheesecake cream, strawberries, digestive crumbles and fruit coulis). The pancake dishes cost no more than a measly £9.00! And my crispy bacon side dish was just perfect! To drink, we had smoothies - which I highly recommend. I went with the green detox - apple, baby spinach, cucumber lemongrass and celery, and it was just as you would expect, divine - and worth £4.90! Other choices include a berry blast, energy drink (carrot, apple, orange, ginger and lime), and the simple single pressed (apple or carrot or orange juice).
But Polo Bar’s menu offers much much more. On the day we were there, I looked at fellow diners' dishes and the food looked delicious. I saw fry ups, omelettes, and an amazingly huge breakfast sandwich which I have made a mental note to try next time (it’s £8.80 by the way - and it’s huge). There’s also an all day breakfast menu if you’re not able to make it here in the morning due to that all important morning meeting. The menu consists of the usual breakfast favorites, including a nicely-toasted bagel stuffed with smoked salmon, eggs, guacamole and mixed leaves. Or perhaps the traditional English breakfast - a massive dish that’s worth it’s £9.90 price. Polo Bar’s lunch and dinner menu is also a delight serving everything from fish and chips (£11.50) to sausage & mash (£8), cajun fried chicken breast (£8.50) to a yummy sounding steak & ale pie (£9.50). But polo bar excels in their burgers, which are made from 100% British steak, cooked to order for freshness. All burgers come in a seeded brioche bun with lettuce, tomato, caramelised red onion and relish, and there are various types - regular to the grilled chicken to the double chilli cheese to the veggie and then the hefty American, which includes bacon, cheese, gherkin and onion rings. All around the £10 mark - a snip for all you rich bankers!
For those of us who’ve worked in the City long enough, we remember that Polo Bar used to be Ponti’s - a nitty gritty cafe with no toilet, a bit run down and not very pleasant. Well, Ponti’s is no more (though it’s still owned by the same family), and the nephew of the previous owner has taken over to reincarnate it as Polo Bar, which has poshed up it's location to fit it in more with the times. Inside has a rustic feeling, decorated with stuffed animal heads and kitschy queen’s crowns. Polo Bar is the only real, long lasting cafe/diner in the City and has been in business since 1953. I’m sure you’ve been there dozen of times, but it’s time to treat yourself and come in for their breakfasts - even if it means coming into the City on the weekend where you can have a nice, leisurely meal without having to rush back to your desk.