- 210 Fourth St., Des Moines, IA, 50309
- Overall User Rating:
- (9 ratings)
- Bar: Monday-Saturday: 11a.m. to 2a.m. Sunday: 12p.m.-2a.m. Kitchen: Monday-Saturday: 11a.m.-9p.m. Sunday: 12p.m.-9p.m. Happy hour Monday-Friday: 2pm-6pm
- Official Web Site:
Today is Keith Richards's 60th birthday. Yes, I've heard the usual joke -he doesn't look a day over 80. To that I say this: He looks better than Brian Jones.
Coarse pub humor aside, I can think of no better place to raise a glass to the great Rolling Stones guitarist than a good-old English pub. And in this town, that would be the Royal Mile.
AMBIENCE: It's all about atmosphere. Pub is short for "public house," and that gets into the homey warmth and character of these traditional English venues. They often feel like an extension of some generous soul's living and dining rooms, where everyone's invited. And the Royal Mile attracts everyone, green haired to gray haired. It's downtown Des Moines' living room.
With softly glowing lamps, tapestry curtains, rich wood and golden walls, the snug spot is particularly cozy in winter. As the snow swirls outside, sit on well-worn wooden banquettes next to the fireplace and drink a single malt scotch. It's a bonny feeling indeed.
MAKE ME "HAPPY": Find pub classics, some upscale offerings plus dishes inspired by former British colonies. The fiery and flaky Red Curry Cashew Chicken Eggrolls proved a dynamic start to our otherwise straightforward choices.
Homey pub-style comfort food isn't meant to startle and sing; it's meant to soothe and fortify -and mostly, that was the effect of the best food here. "I could live on these," said my dining companion of the Scotch egg, a hearty snack of hard-boiled egg encrusted with a crispy sausage coating.
In the past, I've been heartened by the Big Ben Bangers and Mash; this time around the perfectly classic Fish and Chips had the same effect. In the same vein, the simple Chicken with Tarragon Gubbins Sauce resembled a good-old Southern fried chicken breast, but instead of gravy brought a white sauce lightly spiked with English mustard.
The FAB Pork Loin Medallions, stuffed with a bright leek, onion and red pepper mix, would have upstaged them all had the pork been a little less dry. The only main-dish dud was the Lamb Chops; the meat had great flavor, but there just wasn't a lot of it on those bones.
COMIN' DOWN AGAIN: With names like Peanut Butter Panic and Cookie Craze, desserts are the usual ungodly gut-busters. The Chocolate Stuffed Muffin, oozing molten chocolate from within and flanked with four scoops of cherry-chocolate ice cream was fine, though four of us armed with four spoons couldn't finish it. Finish with one of the single-malt scotches instead.
BOTTOM LINE: A great pub and the next best thing to being in Dartford -- the birthplace of the tough old English rocker.