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 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/

 

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 Freemason’s Arms – Wiswell, Lancashire, UK

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It was Jack’s Grandma’s birthday recently and as they live up in Lancashire (and it was a birthday to celebrate), she chose a lovely gastropub called The Freemason’s Arms in Wiswell for a Birthday Sunday Lunch with the family.

From the moment we stepped out the car and walked up to the pub that was tucked away on a quaint little street, I warmed to it straight away. As the sun was out, we sat outside for a drink before we went in to choose from their interesting Sunday Lunch menu.20150816_142612
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IMG-20150823-WA0043Inside was cozy and decorated in a very old traditional British Pub style – with fox heads and stag heads, oil paintings, fire places and antique-looking dark wood furniture.

They brought us some bread, still fresh and warm from the oven. One was quite fluffy and made with herbs and olive oil and the other was more of a seeded rustic chewy bread loaf. Both was so good that I couldn’t help myself but eat them.
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IMG-20150823-WA0016For starters everyone had the cod except for Jack and his Granddad who had the pea soup.

The pea soup was so green under the cheese fondue. It had bits still which made it taste very rustic and freshly made. The fondue over the top gave the soup a little bit of an extra creaminess to it.

The cod came served on top of some very sweet melon with a slice of Iberica ham placed on the top of it all. The waitresses then came back around with some little see-through glass teapots with the broth of the ham which they poured over the top of it. Who would have thought that all these flavours would have married up so well together? But they did! With the smokiness of the ham and the sweetness of the melon together with the subtle flavoured fish – it was delicious.IMG-20150823-WA0015

 


IMG-20150823-WA0025For the mains everyone ordered the Aged Beef except for Jack’s Granddad who ordered the Organic Duck (what a rebel). I didn’t try the duck but it came very well presented. The duck looked very tender and with the Hong Kong twist of Pak Choi and XO Broth, I’m sure it tasted delicious.

The sirloin beef was cooked perfectly (still pink in the middle) and it came with lots of goodies as the trimmings. There were green beans and carrots (which weren’t soggy and still had a crunch), carrot puree (which added a little sweetness to the dish), mashed potatoes (extremely smooth and creamy like a puree), roast potatoes and a large yorkshire pudding (which were both perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside) – plus it also came with a side of cauliflower and cheese for everyone to share. I was very impressed.

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As you know, I don’t have a sweet tooth, so I chose the cheese for my third course. The board of 7 Lancashire cheeses came with a menu of all the cheeses on the board in order, a palette cleanser of what tasted like apple juice, a variety of crackers and bread, raspberry jam, syrup apricots and grapes. It was a delightful experience to try them all.

Everyone else had the Sticky Toffee pudding which, although I didn’t try any, I was told it tasted amazing. IMG-20150823-WA0042Patron Chef Steven Smith has created a Sunday Lunch menu has a modern twist to it which was absolutely divine and partnered with the quaint traditional British pub atmosphere and fine dining service, you can definitely understand why it has won numerous awards. A must try if you can!IMG-20150823-WA0028

http://www.freemasonsatwiswell.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 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.