Finding British Tradition at The Peacock and The Shakespeare

By Nadia Ghattas, Epoch Times
February 22, 2014 Updated: February 21, 2014

Steeped in British tradition, The Peacock, in Murray Hill, is romantic and luxurious. It makes you feel as though you had just stepped into a grand home or private club in 19th century England.

The Library and the Library Bar give a foretaste of the gorgeous interiors, with dark mahogany paneling, golden wallpaper, maroon-colored drapes dressing the windows, and dim lights all around.

The concept behind The Peacock is to showcase the best of British tradition, from furniture to pub food. All the rooms are decorated with custom-made furniture, which are covered with a mix of bohemian and historical fabrics. For service, Wedgwood fine china and Waterford crystal are used throughout the parlor.

The Garden Room and the Peacock Room are the two main dining rooms. We were seated in the Garden Room, with its high ceilings and clean, crisp colors reminiscent of casual fine dining in the outdoors. 

The Peacock is owned and managed by chef Jason Hicks (formerly of Aureole, La Goulue, and Orsay), and Yves Jadot (best known for opening Jones Wood Foundry and Raines Law Room). The menu is a collaboration between Hicks and chef Robert Aikens (formerly of Le Gavroche and The Dandelion).

The menu offerings are unfussy British pub fare with a sophisticated twist. Some are classics, such as fish and chips ($26) and bangers and mash ($21). 

However, for starters, my friend chose the chicken liver and foie gras parfait ($18) with toasted brioche and grape chutne. It blew her away. They were buttery and smooth. I loved the rustic yet beautiful presentation on a wooden board. 

The butter lettuce salad ($12/18) was refreshing. It was a mound of lettuce leaves carefully stacked and decorated with pomegranate, crisp apples, Stilton, and spiced walnuts in a lemon vinaigrette dressing. It was delicate yet loaded with textures. 

For the main course, I had the grilled Gammon Steak ($26) with cured ham, grilled pineapple, a fried egg, and Yukon gold mash. They were piled in a way that looked like the top of an ice-capped mountain. I thought it was a bit dry but tasty. 

My friend chose the Lancashire hotpot ($27) of braised lamb shoulder and vegetables, layered with potato pompano. The ingredients are caramelized separately. It was tender and flavorful, and satisfied her spirits on a cold winter night. 

The Spotted Dick ($9), a sponge pudding with currants and lemon zest, was our choice to end our meal.

In addition to a list of exciting wines, cocktails crafted by Meaghan Dorman of Rains Law Room are available, not to forget the impressive beers from English breweries Wells & Young’s and Greene King.

Just below The Peacock, you’ll find The Shakespeare. If you think The Peacock is traditional, walk down the stairs from the Garden Room, and you’ll be transported to 16th-century Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. The Shakespeare pub has become a focal place for the neighborhood, and like The Peacock, it is well worth experiencing.

The Peacock and The Shakespeare
24 E. 39th St. (at The William, between Park and Madison Avenues)

The Peacock

Monday–Friday 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m., 
Monday–Saturday 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. 
Sunday 5:30 p.m.–10 p.m.
Breakfast, brunch and afternoon tea service to come. Reservations are accepted, and walk-ins welcome. 

The Shakespeare
Monday–Friday 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.
Monday–Sunday 5:30 p.m.–11 p/m. 
Saturday & Sunday 11 a.m.–4 p/m. 
Toast and bar menu available Sunday–Thursday 11 a.m.–midnight, and Friday & Saturday until 1 a.m.