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No passport, no problem

Posted October 15, 2014 in Community Featured, Downtown
The Cornish Pasty with a side of white cheddar mac and cheese. Photo by Marc Bailey.

The Cornish Pasty with a side of white cheddar mac and cheese. Photo by Marc Bailey.

If English food is what you are craving, look no further than The Royal Mile. In fact, a Google search will show you it may be your only option in the Des Moines area.

Since opening in 2001, The Royal Mile has been pleasing patrons with its style, beverage options and authentic English food. I visited the establishment recently on a crisp autumn evening, setting the perfect backdrop for the experience.

Visitors are immediately taken “across the pond” to a traditional English pub, minus the passport. Dark hardwood trim is accentuated with dim lighting, antique English signs and a bar that impresses the staunchest of drinkers. A handful of flat screens broadcast both American and European sporting events.

The bar itself is a work of art. Lined with 28 draughts of the finest UK ales, the long and glistening hardwood top appears to hold the stories of many eventful nights. The bar is backed by a shelving of more than 115 types of single malt Scotch whisky.

I decided to dive into the later section of beverage options and went with a mid-range option that would provide a superior product without breaking my wallet. I choose the 16-year-old Lagavulin and was not disappointed. At $12.75 a glass, it was a perfect partner as I pored over the menu.

The Royal Mile’s food menu offers both traditional and modern British fare. Standards such as fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and the famous bangers and mash are present. Then you have the more creative English dishes such as the Guinness chicken and assorted British inspired sandwiches.

With the smoky afterthoughts of Lagvulin still on my taste buds, our order of the Cornish pasty and Guinness chicken arrived. The Cornish pasty is composed of ground pork, beef, potatoes, turnips and parsnips baked in a turnover style pastry. The pastry crust was rich and buttery, baked golden brown, while the contents were moist and tender. The gravy poured over the dish was packed with flavor.

My guest’s Guinness chicken was moist and tender. After being basted with Guinness beer, the chicken was served sandwich style on a sourdough bun and topped with roasted red peppers and provolone cheese.

Departing from The Royal Mile satisfied and pleased, I understood its widespread reputation as a premier destination for both quality food and fine drink selection, a balance that is not easy to achieve.

The Royal Mile
210 Fourth St.
Kitchen hours
Mon. – Thur.: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday: 11 a.m. – midnight
Saturday: 8 a.m. – midnight
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

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