An across-the-pond outpost satisfies across the Schuylkill.

Sarah Tse
We walked into the lowlit Victoria Freehouse and heard the British host call over to us, “Sit anywhere the fuck you’d like.” We knew the Brits weren’t famous for their food—apparently not their grace either. “Here, take a sheet. Wednesday night is our Quizzo Night.” All the restaurant–goers were preparing to play a little trivia while downing beers and eating the pub fare. We sat down and the waitress took our order before the game began.

 

The Freehouse sports beers and draughts almost exclusively from England and Scotland. We started our meal with a sampling of the pub snacks. The Curried cheese chips (read: fries) were covered in melted cheddar and then doused with madras curry sauce ($7).

The Devils on Horseback ($5) were good enough to scare Paul Revere off of his horse. These cavalrymen were juicy dates stuffed with ricotta cheese wrapped in cinnamon sugar bacon. They’re crazy good, but you only get four.

After a quick food–coma recovery, we tackled the Guinness burger ($13) that impressed with the bang of a redcoat rifle. The burger was toasted to a crunch on the outside, juicy on the inside and coated with a spicy, tangy topping that had me reconsidering every burger I’d ever eaten. The British–style chicken tikka masala ($15) was suprisingly classic, with perfectly cooked jasmine rice served over tender and saucy chicken in keeping with the traditional dish.

Victoria Freehouse has a low–key, mellow atmosphere. A nice restaurant to take someone on a second date: you know, nothing serious, but cool enough to impress. You’ll leave feeling full, but you will have paid for each bite. Thankfully, the ingredients are fresh, the menu is original and the British know how to keep the mood light with games and a good music. This is an old school British pub with a new school menu.

The Victoria Freehouse 10 S. Front St. @TVFHPhilly (215) 543-6059

Don't Miss: Devils on Horseback Skip: Bangers and Mash $$


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