The Stag – Hampstead, London

One sunny weekend recently we went for a walk, a very long walk, from Finsbury Park to the top of Hampstead Heath and down to Gospel Oak. Towards the end of our walk we ended up in a pub called The Stag for a late lunch/dinner.

As it was a sunny day – the large beer garden in the back was heaving with people and so we sat inside which was also buzzing with people at the bar coming in from the garden to order drinks etc. We chose a little booth and table (the only free space as it was rammed).

We shared the Scotch Egg, the Beef Carpaccio and the Beef Rib with Slaw.

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We weren’t really sure what to expect as none of us had eaten there before and we were pleasantly surprised. The food was all delicious and presented very well.

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Definitely recommend if you are in Hampstead Heath and looking for a place to eat in the area.

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http://www.thestagnw3.com/

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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/

The Hill – Haverstock Hill, London

Jack and I had a Saturday day out at the London Zoo recently which was so lovely. We fed a Giraffe, had Monkeys and Lemurs jumping around us and over our heads, and we were faced up close with a Pygmy Hippo and a big Silverback Gorilla. It was really interactive compared to how I remembered the zoo to be.

After the zoo we took a stroll to the top of Primrose Hill and took in the gorgeous view, before we headed off for dinner at The Hill in Haverstock Hill.

It is a gorgeously traditional British pub with old vintage furniture and fireplaces, but as it was a nice day, we sat at a table outside for drinks and dinner.
IMG-20150718-WA0025We both got the Hanger Steak with came with fries (£17 each) and shared a side of Caesar Salad (£3.5). The steak was beautifully cooked and very tender and the fries were still hot and crunchy and the salad crisp. The food was really good and I really liked the location, the service, and the vintage interior.

A must try if you are in the area.

http://www.thehilllondon.com/

The Great Roast Dinner #4: The Fox and Anchor – Farringdon, London

There is something about a Sunday pub roast that reminds me of my university days. Perhaps its the days when dining rooms and living rooms were converted into bedrooms and when eating at the local pub on Sunday with a big group of friends was a lot more comfortable than eating on our laps.

Sian is visiting from Dubai at the moment and she’s been missing a good old English roast dinner, so last Sunday we went for one.

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We initially decided to go to The Red Cow for our Sunday Roast, as we had heard that it was one of the best roasts in London, but they did not have any tables (so next time we shall be booking beforehand!) and recommended for us to go to The Fox and Anchor just around the corner.

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We all ordered the scotch rib of beef which came with duck fat roast potatoes, green beans, roasted carrots, and a large yorkshire pudding with a dollop of horseradish cream on the top (£15.50 each).

The beef was very rare, which lucky for me, is just the way I like it. However, I did consider the fact that some people might not like it that way… and what would they do?

The yorkshire pudding was delicious and I smothered it with gravy, let it soak for a bit, before eating it all up! The carrots and beans were lovely and sweet and although I didn’t have any, Sian said that the potatoes were really good.

All in all it was a nice meal. No frills, nothing fancy, but it definitely did the job!

http://www.foxandanchor.com/

The Orchard – Brockley, London

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Richard’s friend, Edmund Bing (that he grew up with after they met in boy scouts) and his girlfriend own The Orchard and for Hannah’s last night in London, we decided to try it out.

If you live in or around Brockley and you are looking for a local, I would definitely recommend trying out The Orchard. The Bings have done a great job with the place. It has a very homely and warm feeling to it with its brick walls, book shelf, lamps and chilled out atmosphere. I also love that the kitchen is open and you can see the chef cooking up all the meals.

They have a mouth watering menu and it was hard to come to a decision because everything sounded good.

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For starters we had calamari with a teriyaki plum sauce, sesame seeds and fried leeks, which added a great Japanese twist to the dish.

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We also shared a beer battered deep fried monk fish with tartar sauce, which was delicious – crisp and light on the outside and moist on the inside.

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For our mains, Hannah went for the roasted wild halibut wrapped in pancetta with anna potatoes, artichokes, mussels and nestles.

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I went for the pan fried trout on potato puree with spinach, capers and butter. It was an absolute delight. The trout had crisp skin on one side and perfectly soft meat on the other side. The potato puree was very smooth and it all went very well with the capers and butter.

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And Richard went for the lamb cutlets with lamb consomee, baby potatoes and spring greens.

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For dessert we had the nespoli with ginger bread and cream. I have never tried this before but it tasted very much like baked, halved nectarines with their skin left on. There were some very interesting flavours in the dish and overall I felt as thought it was a very refreshing way to end the meal.

Edmund came and sat with us for a bit and told us about their new menu and head chef. The chefs love to use fresh, seasonal produce and even do a little bit of foraging themselves. Most recently they have been picking elderflowers which they have been using in their dishes and to make elderflower syrup for their drinks.

I think its a great gastro pub. The food, the interior and the atmosphere were very much enjoyed – Thank you for a wonderful evening Edmund Bing!

http://www.thebrockleyorchard.com/

Approximately £6 per starter and £15 per main

The Mayflower Pub – Rotherhithe Village

The best thing after a night out painting the town red, is a late lunch of a large portion of pub comfort food with some good friends.

This particular day, Jean, Chris, a couple friends and I went to The Mayflower Pub, which they recently discovered. It is tucked away off the cobbled roads of Rotherhithe Village and has a very warm and homely feel to it. It has claimed to be the oldest pub on the River Thames and definitely looks like it has a lot of history. There is an large open stone fireplace that is constantly burning wood in the winter season, a grand moose head on one of the walls, and grand french doors that open up to the large decking area right on the river. They even provide hot water bottles and blankets for the winter!

As well as atmosphere, the food is also great. They have an everyday menu and then a specials board which is constantly changing. Its the perfect pub grub with a touch of je ne sais quoi.

I could have eaten everything on the menu. Chris highly recommended the sausage and mash, so that’s what I ordered.

The Mayflower Pub - Rotherhithe Village

It came with steamed vegetables at the bottom, covered with mashed potatoes, and topped with a slice of black pudding, and three juicy, well seasoned pork sausages. All of it covered in an onion gravy.

After a little break from the very large portions, we ended the meal with a cheese board. They have a good selection of British cheeses and it was a social way to end the meal as we tried them all.

http://themayflowerrotherhithe.com/
It is well priced at £8 a main meal on average.