The Pig and Butcher – Islington

The first time I ever went to The Pig and Butcher was actually 2 years ago. Jack took me 3 birthdays ago and I loved it. It is good quality, well flavoured, seasonal British food. So, when Anusha was visiting London, I brought her here so she could have a taste of what good British food is.

The menu at The Pig and Butcher changes on a daily basis depending on what is fresh in, which I absolutely love about it.

We walked into the cosy, homely restaurant and were sat at our table. Our server knew the menu very well and was good at giving us advice about the dishes.  She also sounded very passionate about the food, which I love.

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We ordered some homemade sourdough bread with beef dripping and jersey butter.

It absolutely made sense that the beef dripping was literally just beef fat in oil form (why would it not be?) – but we were expecting something with a little more flavour. I think we were expecting something with a little oomph to it – Maybe resembling something a little more like a gravy (like I have tried somewhere else before).

The bread was gorgeous though, as was the butter, and with (a lot of) salt the beef dripping came alive a little more.

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Anusha with our sourdough and wine
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Pan Fried Cod Fillet
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Lamb

We shared two mains because we actually wanted to try everything on the menu but couldn’t physically eat it all! So, we had to settle with two dishes (sigh). We chose the Pan Fried Cornish Cod with Courgette, Watermelon and Watercress and the Lamb on a Bed of Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Garlic.

Luckily I ate it the right way around (which wasn’t even planned) and had the fish first which was incredibly refreshing and worked really well with the young watermelon. I thought it would be a normal, ripe watermelon when I saw it on the menu, but it was young, hard, thinly sliced watermelon, which was similar in texture and taste to a daikon (large white radish) and it added another level to the dish with the fresh crunchiness. The fish fell apart and melted on my tongue and it all married perfectly together.

I had the lamb second which naturally had a stronger flavour. The garlic, which we initially thought was an artichoke, was surprisingly delicious. It gave a smokey flavour to the dish when spread onto the lamb and mashed potato. It was a gorgeous combination.

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Dessert was so hard to choose – we wanted something to share and again we wanted most things on the menu. We ended up choosing a cheese board as we still had some wine left and this would go perfectly to end the meal.

It ended up coming with two chocolate, twisted, biscuit-type pastries so we ended up getting something sweet as well after all. The cheeses were all lovely and we managed to polish it all off.

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http://thepigandbutcher.co.uk/

 

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The Harwood Arms – Fulham, London, UK

My friend from school, Caroline, (who I have known since I was about 10 years old) came to visit London for work and so we decide to go for brunch. She was recommended The Harwood Arms in Fulham by a friend of hers and so we went.

It is a quiet, bright, airy pub with a friendly vibe. Great for a catch up with friends since you are able to properly hear each other without music blaring in the background.

We wanted everything on the menu, but decided to get three starters to share and then our own main each.

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The mini wood pigeon sausages with prunes which went surprisingly well together.
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The whipped chicken liver with crispy skin which was so smooth and creamy.
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The black pudding scotch egg was lovely and the yolk was still a little runny.
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Monk fish tail with white bean broth
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Roast lamb with broccoli and goat curd
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Roast duck breast with potato galette and wild mushrooms

We then ordered a main each. I went for the monk fish, Caroline the lamb and her friend the duck. It also came with a side of the creamiest, richest mashed potatoes to share.

Everything was cooked to perfection and you could tell the food was properly cared for and looked after while it was being prepared. It was well priced and the service was great. I cannot fault anything. Try it for yourself.

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Creamy mashed potatoes

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http://www.harwoodarms.com/

Plum and Spilt Milk – Kings Cross, London, UK

Jack and I recently went to Plum and Spilt Milk just by King Cross Station (before he went gallivanting around France following the Euro Cup). Downstairs there is a cocktail bar with a bar snack menu and upstairs is the dining room, which is where we sat.

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We ordered the dressed Portland crab, crushed avocado & sourdough croutons to share between us as a starter. This was such a fresh tasting dish and a perfect, light way to start the meal.

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For mains I had a grilled lamb chop and braised lamb shoulder (which fell apart when I put my fork into it – gorgeous!) on a bed of barley and lentils (which was little creamy risotto underneath) and Jack had the sirloin with a peppercorn sauce. We shared some minted jersey royals and some heritage carrots and coriander between us as well.

The food was really good quality and so delicious but we ordered a little too much and it was surprisingly filling.

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A quiet, quaint little spot with great quality food and excellent cocktails – In the middle of the hustle and bustle of the busy King Cross area.

http://plumandspiltmilk.com/

HIX – Soho, London

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For Jack’s birthday I got him tickets to see Book of Mormon (which I absolutely 100% recommend if you haven’t been – but that is another story for another time) and we went to HIX Soho for dinner before the show. HIX, owned by Mark Hix British Chef and Restauranteur, has a fabulously British menu where you can see all the regions that all the food has come from.

As we were looking at the menu, the waitress came over and asked us if we had any questions about the menu – and when we did she actually knew the answers and sounded really passionate about the food there. I love a restaurant where all the staff are passionate about their foods and drinks. It really makes the experience of eating at that restaurant even better.

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We decided to start with a couple cocktails and some Moyallon pork crackling with gooseberry sauce £4.25. The crackling was perfectly done – crispy, still hot from the oven, and not too puffy or dried out and they married very well with the gooseberry sauce. 20150422_180839The steak tartare £16.75 that I had for my main was such good tender meat that it just melted in my mouth. It was moulded into a circle with a raw egg yolk comfortably resting right in the middle with a side of three mini bowls of mustard and extra bits that I could add into my steak mixture. One of the best steak tartares I’ve had!

My steak came with fries which we shared. We also shared some broccoli and mixed vegetables for sides (£4.95 per side dish) which were all fresh and still had a bit of a crunch to them (nobody like a soggy over cooked piece of broccoli unless its being blended into a soup).

Jack had the hanger steak with baked bone marrow £19.95 which was also lovely. The marrow had a garlicky crust which complimented the meat very well.
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After dinner we headed down into the basement into Mark’s Bar, which is a quirky little cocktail bar under the restaurant where the Mixologists truly have a passion for what they do. You can tell them whatever tastes that you like and they can create something for you (about £10 – £12 per cocktail). I love this kind of speak easy type vibe in a cocktail bar.

Great service, great fresh British sourced ingredients, great dishes and great cocktails.

http://www.hixsoho.co.uk/