The space formerly occupied by kitschy ice cream parlor Sweetiepie (where you could choose to dine inside a birdcage, if you're into that sort of thing) has been completely transformed into Whitehall, by the team behind Mary Queen of Scots and Highlands. The interior design is inspired the post-war utilitarian aesthetic of old London parks and train stations. As you can see, there is a lot of tile and reclaimed this and that, including park benches and old mirrors. The modern-industrial angle is softened by warm lighting and comfortable banquettes, plus a lot of gin.
The signature cocktail menu, by John McCarthy (formerly of Bobo), has a decidedly gin-based bent, including but not limited to The Vesper (Cocchi Americano, Gin, Vodka, Lemon bitters, $10), the Negroni (Beefeater gin, Campari, Carpano Antica, Grapefruit bitters, $12), the Aviation (Plymouth gin, Maraschino, Lemon, $12), and the Martinez (Bols Genever, Carpano Antica, Maraschino, Aromatic Bitters, $13). These are supplemented by a variety of beers and ales from Britain and a wine list that focuses on carefully selected biodynamic new-world wines.
As for the food, chef/co-owner Chris Rendell is doing modern British menu that's lighter and less decadent than what he dishes out at Mary Queen of Scots. Ingredients are as locally sourced as possible (as required by current dining industry law under penalty of death), and the menu features a section called "Simply Grilled," with options like Whole Sea Bream, Lemon & Herb Oil ($24); Lamb Rib Chop, Mushy Pea Fritter, Mint Sauce ($25); and Pork Chop Roasted Apple-Thyme Butter, Cider Sauce ($24). These are all Served With Cos Lettuce & Rosemary, and Garlic Potatoes.
The menu will vary a little month by month—toward the end of November Rendell invited us in as his guest, and we were particularly enamored with the Spiced Butternut Squash Salad, with toasted almonds, lemon feta, and watercress ($11). (It's still on the menu; we highly recommend.) Whitehall is a warmer and more convivial restaurant than these photos—with all the tile and exposed brick—might suggest, and there's a cozy back room that seems like a great date spot. We sat at the bar, and in between cocktails futilely tried to decipher the numbers and letters scrawled across one of the room's mirrors. Turns out that's not a list of daily specials, it's the mathematical equation that proves 1+1=2, by artist Oliver Jeffers. True story. Anyway, they're also doing brunch on weekends now; peruse the menu below.
Whitehall // 19 Greenwich Avenue // (212) 675-7261