It's been owned by the same people (the Van de Kamp and Frank families) in the same location longer than any other restaurant in Los Angeles. Now with that bit of obligatory trivia out of the way, I can focus on what I like about the place. The Tam is a massive Tudor-style building. Heavy wooden beams, iron chandeliers, brass railings, paintings of lordly tartan-clad people, and Scottish family crests on the wall make for a solemn, slightly stodgy, yet comfortable interior. It feels a bit like striding into a huntsman's lodge after a cheery afternoon of grouse-hunting. We've all done that, right?
The waitstaff is very attentive; busboys in flowy white shirts and waitresses in kilts, white stockings and tartan Tammy hats speed about with smiles. The menu is lacking in deeply Scottish cuisine (Toad in the Hole, Scotch rarebit, yes... haggis, kippers, black pudding, cock-a-leekie soup, no), but it's got some classic high-end American/UK dishes accompanied by light and dark bread and butter.
I found the Fish & Chips good: fluffy beer-battered Alaskan halibut with malt vinegar and a well-mixed tartar sauce, with excellently crispy chips (that's fries to us Yanks). The peanut coleslaw is tangy and not too heavy on the red cabbage.
The braised short ribs are tender and laden with gravy. The Toad in the Hole (a filet mignon/Burgundy/mushrooms affair baked into a Yorkshire pudding shell) is large enough to split into two. Bianca reported her cream of carrot soup to be very tasty, but the crab cakes only fair.
What to drink? Guinness, of course. Or a Black & Tan. After dinner is when we would consider a fine single malt (I'll have to check Tam O'Shanter's whisky menu to see how they measure up).
There's also an Ale and Sandwich bar open during the day, serving a Rueben, a rotisserie chicken with pepper jack, and a prime rib sandwich, which will be less expensive than the dinners (which run up to thirty-five bucks for the steak dishes).
At least we know where all the senior citizens in Los Feliz come for lunch. While it might feel more casual in a pub, Tam O'Shanter feels a bit like a long-lost home.
... For a shameless Anglo/Scoto-phile like me, anyway.
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), Los Feliz/Silver Lake/Echo Park, English/UK )
So having acquired a nice new linen driver cap on a warm day in Santa Monica, it was fitting that we saunter into the King's Head for dinner. Inside it's all pub: wood, brass, dart boards, television with cricket, laughter. Outside is a long set of casual tables, where we like to be.
We got right into it, with the help of our (English-accented, thankfully) waitress, and got ourselves a pair of pints, one of Guinness, one of Fuller's Ale. We ordered an appetizer of sausages blanketed in a flaky pastry, painfully hot but incredibly delicious.
My first experience here was with the Banger Sandwich: English sausage and grilled onions on a simple-enough roll. It's pretty good and bursting-with-juices, and the chips are craveworthy, but there are other items I'm curious about. English cuisine is of course famous (or perhaps infamous, thinking historically) for having really good Indian flair along with it, and the roasted Chicken & Chips comes with a rich brown curry sauce that is superb, so I'm a bit envious of Bianca for having ordered that.
There are other English delights: fish & chips (using Icelandic cod); a mixed grill of steak, lamb chop, bacon and bangers, mushrooms and chips; Scotch eggs wrapped in sausage meat and breaded; Steak Guinness and mushroom pie; and black pudding if you're adventurous.
Peach Melba for dessert if you like, of course... and come into the shoppe next door if you're homesick for English goodies: teas, cheeses, crackers, even canned beans.
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), Indian, Santa Monica/Culver City, English/UK )