I’ve certainly spent a few too many evenings in Barking Deer. Not quite sure what it is that keeps drawing me back.
It’s not the food. I have tried a wide selection from the menu, including bruschetta, the paneer wrap, potato skins, a veggie burger and there’s nothing particular endearing on this front. It’s mainly fried produce, served with little attention to detail.
It’s not the mocktails – a different variety of a virgin mohito is served up everytime I go in there and ask for it. Sometimes it turns out exceedingly sweet, other times exceedingly tasteless.
It’s not the decor. The place has a drab feel characteristic of any dated public house in the UK / US / Australia.
However the service is generally attentive, the waiters seems to remember me and they are usually pretty efficient at handling orders. The music policy varies, but occasionally a playlist of 90s / 00s English pop is a nostalgic treat for the ferang ear. Moreover Barking Deer seems to attract a good crowd up for fun, without the constant validation and status-seeking types found in other places