Filling the space of Wicker Park’s recent occupant, Small Bar, Pub Royale is an ode to an old school British pub mixed with some Indian flare. Caught right in the middle of Fat Pour and Innjoy, Pub Royale is the perfect location for a bar food-styled take of classic Indian dishes in addition to its English beverages.
Whether sitting inside or outside, the decor and the colors definitely give off a cool, yet interesting vibe (my vote is to sit outside for premier picture-taking lighting). Decorated with suede upholstery, dark wood, maroon colors, exposed brick, and dark lighting, Pub Royale sets the scene to make you feel like you’re in an old English hole-in-the-wall.
Although Pub Royale is not traditionally Indian, it offers a unique way to enjoy unfamiliar Indian dishes and tastes within the approachable American packaging: bar food. Not only do the flavors significantly change with each dish, but the sizes of the items also range in volume.
If you’re really hungry, order the large-and-in-charge stuffed “paratha” a.k.a. a giant pancake filled with bacon, potato, and cheese, topped off with a sunny side up egg. Not only is this giant carby stuffed bread insanely delicious, but it’s large enough to comfortably share with 1-2 other people, depending on everyone’s stomach capacity.
If you’re not super hungry and are looking for something light and fresh, give Pub Royale’s “kedgeree” a try. Made with smoked fish, rice, scallions, and a soft boiled egg, the “kedgeree” is a great dish if you’re trying to keep it on the lighter side – not to mention that each forkful keeps getting more and more flavorful.
Other dishes of note that were also good for a quick bite were the “cucumber raita” containing yoghurt, tahini, mint, lemon and red onion, or the “yoghurt and fruit,” made with a giant glob of almond butter and topped with mint, lime, and puffed rice.
Since the Pimm’s Cups are proclaimed to be Pub Royale’s “pride and joy” type of beverage, I’d recommend trying at least two to get a feel for the depth of flavors. For a boozier and heavier drink or something to help with that “hair of the dog,” try the house chai cocktail for a true kick. However, for a fun and easier sip (plus some eye candy), order Pimm’s #1, mixed with ginger beer, cucumber, and mint.
I will admit, after hearing the words “bar food” before stopping into Pub Royale, I was expecting the usual types of offerings. However, I was very surprised to have tasted the flavors and experience the great hospitality as I did. Between the super unique concept and the exorbitant amounts of flavor from each dish (and drink), Pub Royale certainly has won me over and I look forward to returning SOON.