You know the chef must be British when the mayo on your burger is spiked with Marmite (yeast extract) and the mushy peas are laced with mint that accompanies the fish and chips.
But to get to the food you have to locate The Seven Dials, a gastropub in Coral Gables that is on Minorca Avenue although the street address is South Douglas Road — on the ground floor of the Minorca condo building. The name refers to the pillar with sundials in Covent Garden in the west end of London, where seven roads converge. The pub is cozy, with badger-, bird- and squirrel-patterned wallpaper on the back wall, Florida-brewed beer on tap and, of course, a rusty sundial.
Chef Andrew Gilbert is a native of London and met his American wife, Katie Sullivan, her first night in London in a pub when she arrived there as a student at a branch of Florida State University. They lived in New York City for nine years after getting married, with Sullivan coordinating the global photo department for Estée Lauder.
Gilbert apprenticed with French chef Christophe Morvan at Tournesol in Queens and then was the chef at Northeast Kingdom, one of the first farm-to-table restaurants in Brooklyn. They headed to Miami, where Katie is from and is now the editor of Edible South Florida magazine. They opened the pub in August with many regular customers living in the building and others finding them by word of mouth.
The lunch menu offers soup of the day with Zak the Baker’s bread; salads such as the Ploughman’s with cheese or ham, pickles, chutney, truffled egg and mixed greens with toast; or the turkey Cobb with bacon and blue cheese; sandwiches (try the chicken banh mi with chicken liver pate or the Proper Sausage with Coleman’s mustard and red cabbage) and mains.
At lunch and dinner there is a house burger with Muenster cheese, pickled green tomato and an onion ring plated with shoestring fries. There’s also a fillet of beer-battered corvina (or other market fish) with mashed minted peas and greaseless fries and tangy tartar sauce.
Other dinner items include British cheese (double cream Brie, Cheddar, red Leicester) and charcuterie (chorizo, lardo toast, foie gras torchon) platters; clam chowder with Gulf shrimp, mussels, clams and bacon; tikka masala chicken wings with spicy strips of cucumber; duck confit with horseradish mashed potatoes and roasted bone marrow with sesame toast.
Specials could be Indian-spiced paratha bread “pizza” topped with paneer, yogurt, cucumber and herbs; local tomato and Manchego cheese drizzled in balsamic vinegar; or miso-glazed lamb ribs.
Wash the eclectic grub down with a Wynwood IPA or an M.I.A. Brewing beer. Do not leave without trying the warm sticky toffee cake with ice cream, a Brit classic.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami-based food writer.