Crocker’s Folly: Victorian grandeur meets Middle Eastern cuisine

ocker’s Folly was my local boozer when I first moved to London. Part of its charm was that it never got that busy, hence why it shut down about a decade ago. After a period in which the site remained derelict, Crocker’s reopened in 2014. I visited soon after and was highly disappointed by the service, uninspiring food and poor value for money. With some time having elapsed, a return visit was merited. In summary, the venue remains as stunning as ever, while the menu now has a dedicated Middle Eastern focus. The combination of opulent Victorian architecture and Lebanese-style food may seem like an incongruous one, but it kind-of works. When we visited, on a recent weekend lunchtime, the venue was packed. Many of the guests were families with kids, appealing to the local clientele after a more up-market (and pricier) experience than can be found on the nearby Edgware Road. Gone is the modern European/ Middle Eastern mix with which the venue originally relaunched, while service had also improved immeasurably. The formula is simple: there is a range of cold and hot mezze (think hummus, falafel and the like) followed by more substantial mains (predominately grilled meat) brought to your table by smiling waiters along with a range of soft drinks and wines. All the items from our spread pleased, but we couldn’t help thinking that dishes of similar quality are available for less than half the price charged here, barely ten minutes down the road. What you pay for is the (presumably high) running costs attached to maintaining the beauty of the venue. Rather than a lunch or dinner venue, Crocker’s seems to me somewhere more to come from a drink and an ogle before ambling off nearby in search of food.