What’s the thing that makes football such a globally beloved sport? I’m the least qualified person online to comment about this year’s World Cup, to be perfectly honest. There hasn’t been a team I’ve been backing all this time, though I came into this final I’m backing Croatia – you’ve got to love an underdog, right? Considering even I’m interested in football right now it’s clear it’s not the technicalities of the sport that draws audiences. I think, and readers please correct me and add your own take in the comments, that it’s the community spirit that pulls people like me into the sport. So when my colleagues decided we should go watch the World Cup final live, I was the first to say yes. So what’s watching the World Cup final like at The Londoner’s Pub in Smart City?
There’s something so incredibly enticing about happy hour, isn’t there? Two for the price of one on cocktails is the greatest special offer since…two for one sliced bread? The first thing I ordered when I walked in through the door at The Londoner’s in Smart City was a The Londoner cocktail. And what a cocktail it is: a combination of lime, gin, sugar, prosecco, and grenadine. The prosecco comes off a little strong in this cocktail, but it’s a nice warm drink with a fantastic cool pink gradient that, while some consider girly, I think just makes it look interesting.
If the color of your drink defines your manhood, you need to have a long hard think about what that means. Bringing me onto my second pink cocktail, the Cherry Poppins: sour cherries, peach schnapps, triple sec, Malibu, peach juice, lime, and bitters.
It’s definitely the better of the two cocktails I tried. The flavour is far smoother than The Londoner, and on a blistering summer Sunday afternoon a frozen cocktail is second only to a dead simple gin and tonic on ice.
The real reason to come to The Londoner in Smart City, however, is the food. While the restaurant calls itself a pub the food is a class above standard pub grub, but it’s still that perfect pub food made for a pint or two. The burgers are well regarded, but this time around I was absolutely starving and only one thing on the menu seemed to scratch that itch: The Drinker’s Favourite platter. What’s in it, you ask? Well then: Mini beef burgers, Lamb koftas, Chicken wings, Spiced honey pork sausages, Chicken strips, Sticky pork loin ribs, meatballs, Garlic bread, Onion rings…and fries covered in NACHO FECKING CHEESE!
I don’t know where to start with this platter, so I’m going to go with the one that really struck a chord with me: the cheese fries. Unlike typical gourmet burger cheese fries, these are draped in an oozing, melted blanket of cheddar or some such cheese. Oh no. It’s fully liquid, gelatinous nacho cheese that drapes these fries, and this is a combo I’d heard of before, but never thought I’d taste. I do wish the fries were crispier, but the saltiness of the cheese plays nice with the soft chips.
The second most notable item are those heavenly sausages. ‘Spiced honey pork’ sausages The Londoner’s calls them, and they’re utterly delightful. I’d eat a soup bowl full of these sausages with a side of fries as a main course, no problem, and I’m sure they’d go down a treat with a nice cold pint. The sausages are served in this sweet, but tart, glaze that has a bare hint of spice to it, and it’s incredibly delicious. The best part of this portion of the platter is that it’s a double whammy – when you’re done with the sausages, dip the garlic bread in the platter!
The rest of the dish is yet more fantastic pub grub, and I can’t recommend it enough!
Finally, we come to the pub itself. The Londoner’s pub is located slap bang in the middle of Smart City, with an outdoor section overlooking the water fountain display. However while the pub itself is central to Smart City, Smart City isn’t exactly central for most people in Malta. I understand that the location can be off-putting for anyone living north of Valletta, but in actual fact traffic to Smart City isn’t that bad. Parking is also fantastic, and the sea views are the best you’re going to get anywhere on the island.
And In Conclusion…
Look, I’m not going to comment on the match because I’m the least qualified person to do so in the entirety of the internet. The pub though? While the location is not ideal, The Londoner’s has worked its way onto my list of watering holes. The food’s great, the service is fantastic, the prices are good, and the cocktails are boozy.
At the end of the day, isn’t that all that matters?