De Hems, W1D 5BW
- Address: 11 Macclesfield Street, London W1D 5BW
- Locale: Soho / Chinatown
- Nearby Tube stops: Leicester Square Station / Piccadilly Circus Station
Google claims this is the only Dutch pub in London; I've no evidence to the contrary. It certainly becomes very mad and packed out everytime there's a Dutch national event (royal wedding, birthdays, and sport are examples.) It's between Shaftesbury Avenue and [Gerrard Street]?. It's won a dunny of the month award.
Judging by a bit more Googling, it has a big screen upstairs for watching sport on, and also hosts the "Oranje Boom Boom" comedy night.
On draught: Hoegaarden, other stuff - no Kriek on draught at the moment (July 2004); they've swapped to a strawberry beer instead, at (I think) £4/pint. They even do that Dutch washing the glass before they give it to you thing. The house lager is Oranjeboom (5% ABV) (�2.80/pint) and is a very pleasant tipple - although some complain that it tastes a bit sweet. They also seem to do the Dutch thing of giving you a large head on your pint, although they will top it up if requested.
In bottles: Chimay Red, Chimay White, Frambozen (I _think_ Liefmans, or maybe Mort Subite), etc.
"Traditional Dutch and English Food Our Speciality."
A blackboard outside and a bartender inside said they do food till midnight, but the menus inside said till 8pm. Maybe there is a different menu after that. Bread and dips costs �3.50 and gets you ciabatta, supermarket sliced granary bread, four green olives, a heap of hummous and a spoonful of pesto dip (looked like pesto mixed with mayo). Main courses are about �6, and come with what looked like very decent portions of chips and interesting salad. There's a reasonable vegetarian selection, including vegetarian satay, which is deep-fried potato-vegetable-hash-style "nuggets" in skewers, served with a peanut sauce.
The pub has a collection of tables at the front that can seat five to six maybe more. At the back is a big freeform area where you can stand and talk for when the pub gets busy (as it does at the weekend, it being in soho.) The front of the pub can be completely opened up for the summer and the busy events.
There is also an upstairs bar that tends to be a little quieter and has more tables. This upstairs area can be hired for private parties.
The decor is standard fair, a mix between high and low chairs, dark and light wood, even some sofa chairs. Lots of prints of dutch paintings on the walls.
The toilets are located in the basement, and you have to go down a spiral of stairs to get at them. The ladies' at least has those stupid push taps instead of real ones.