Not to sound all Psychology Today, but we think the secret behind our preference for eight hour Netflix mini-series over News At Ten, other than the fact that we get all our news from Twitter now, is that we’ve all had just about enough of reality. Everyone loves a little escape, and Passyunk Avenue is exactly that.
When you step inside this Philadelphia-inspired spot and dive bar on Cleveland Street you’d be forgiven for feeling like you’ve momentarily left London. The walls and ceilings are chaotically covered with dollar bills and Philadelphia Eagles memorabilia, and there are TV screens that play either American football or the films of Danny Devito. There’s also a life-size cutout of Danny DeVito by the toilet. What we’re trying to point out here is that this Fitzrovia spot definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’s a fun stay-till-closing type of energy, one where you’ll be welcomed like a local, shown to one of their two-person booths or high tops and offered a huge menu with everything from chicken parm platters, to meatball subs.
Now the really important thing that you should know is that the cheesesteak is what you’re here for. Shredded rib-eye steak and melted cheese in an Italian hoagie bread roll, with a whole pickle on the side is a bready, meaty mess, and moreish in all the right ways. Once you try it, it’s the kind of thing that immediately enters the rota of meals you’ll be craving once a month, and while your eyes may wander to the other mains, like the pizza cheesesteak (which sounds like a better idea than it is), we’d recommend focussing on the classic and just getting some buffalo wings, and cheesy tater tots on the side.
Passyunk is the rare type of restaurant that you can head to for a quick lunch and be in and out in under an hour while also being the sort of place you’d want to spend an entire evening. The menu is big enough to please everyone, so as well as serving some excellent cheesesteaks, it’s just a really great place to have in your back pocket. And while we’d definitely book a table beforehand, especially on weekends, it’s a place where you’d happily sip on a draft beer or Philly cocktail at the bar while waiting for a table, especially when you’re avoiding the news.
Tater Tots With Wiz Sauce
Not enough places in London serve tater tots, and these are pretty great.
A very welcome side, these are tangy, spicy, and come with a blue cheese or ranch sauce to cool it all down. Ask for some of the home-made honey mustard sauce to go with it.
We’re always a little disappointed when we order loaded nachos. Mostly because they’re not saucy enough. Sadly, these are no exception.
Classic Philly Cheesesteak
The MVP and the main reason you come here. This whopper of a sub is filled with shredded ribeye steak, onions and your choice of cheese (go with the Wiz).
This sounds like a good idea - and like something we’d come up with in the shower - and it’s not bad. But unless you’ve been here a few times and are in the mood to switch things up you should stick with the classic.
This is their signature cheddar cheese sauce and it’s salty, cheesy, and delicious.