Category Archives: British

William IV, Shoreditch

A good Sunday roast is an easy thing for any establishment to say they deliver, but often in reality can be a disappointment and leave a diner unsatisfied!! So a little while back we tried out lunch at the William IV pub in hipster Shoreditch – our friends said it did a fine one and I was eager to find out if it lived up to the hype. 

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The William IV’s a nicely laid out pub, benefiting from a position on the corner of two roads, lots of windows keep the space bright and welcoming. A round of punchy Bloody Mary’s started lunch for some of us – birthday celebrations the day before being the cheeky culprit!

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Bloody Mary

Sunday lunch offerings are short, but sweet – a couple of starters, roasts that cover all the main bases, a few sharing options and desserts to get your teeth into.

Whilst most of us eyed up the roasts, the other half was diverted off course and went for two sharing boards!! Oh, don’t worry this isn’t so much of a surprise to me, there are plenty of tales which have become folklore amongst our uni mates, where he’d order everything for himself because he couldn’t decide – the chip shop story has become stuff of legend, even finding a way into our mates wedding speech. 

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Charcuterie board and cheese board

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New season asparagus w/ poached eggs and hollandaise sauce

After a bit of a mess up with the order – my original choice being the sirloin of beef, I was brought chicken, however after clocking my eyes on the bird I was pleasantly surprised. Normally I’d get a bit irritated with a messed up order, but he was very apologetic and looked a little mortified at giving me it, saying he would happily bring out the beef. 

My verdict on the roast – it’s a cracking one on all counts; my plate had a generous amount of moist and juicy roast chicken, coming with crispy skin and lots of herbs. The greens still had bite, it’s iron-packed goodness still intact, and the all-important Yorkshire was crisp, light and a good size. The essentials like decent roast potatoes and veg were treated simply and cooked well, then finally to complete the plate a gravy boat full of the good stuff finishing the roasts off perfectly. 

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Lemon and herb roast chicken

Roasts aside, the asparagus and sharing plates can be commended too – eggs poached to perfection, meat and cheese boards meeting the needs of the other half who worked his way steadily through both very satisfactorily! 

Whether it’s the best Sunday roast in Shoreditch is yet to be seen, but what I can say is it’s  a damn tasty one! William IV is a lovely neighbourhood pub and I can see why my friends love it there!!

William IV

7 Shepherdess Walk

London

N1 7QE

http://www.thewilliam.co.uk

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Sunday Lunch @ The Eagle, Hoxton

Sunday morning after an all day session the day before found us sprightly and raring for Sunday lunch somewhere. None of us could really be bothered wandering too far, so The Eagle pub at the end of the road was put forward as an option. Well known in the local area, the Victorian boozer can boast having its name in the Pop Goes The Weasel nursery rhyme, and brings with it old school charm and a rough around the edges feel. 

It wasn’t busy, pretty empty in fact considering it was prime time Sunday lunch, making me think from the off that we may’ve been better going elsewhere. I found their menu a tad confusing; there were Sunday roasts, boards of charcuterie, salads and then a mix of small plates ranging from Poutine, sprats and padron peppers. This initial confusion stopped me in my tracks for a few minutes, and for a while I’d contemplated getting a selection of small plates, but thought better of it and went for a classic fish and chips. 

The aforementioned fish and chips were good; fish came with a light crisp, golden batter, and regardless of my view that chippy chips are the best, these did the job. Even the mushy peas which were more akin to crushed peas were decent, and I don’t even like them normally. Poutine was good – made with compulsory rich and creamy curds, furthermore, they hadn’t drowned the chips in a sea of gravy; always a plus in my book. The roasts themselves looked just ok, but that’s about it really. Whilst the other half heartily tucked into the meat, he gifted me the Yorkshire which I found disappointingly dry and should’ve been a lot better. The veg was just above average, the parsnips in particular looked anaemic, underdone and were hard to cut, the roast potatoes were better and slightly, just slightly made up for them. 

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Overall, the place has a homely feel and I was happy with parts of the meal – the poutine and fish and chips were great, but if you’re after a Sunday roast I’m sure there are better places locally. 

The Eagle

2 Shepherdess Walk

London

Greater London

N1 7LB

https://www.theeaglehoxton.co.uk

Tom’s Kitchen, Somerset House

Day’s out are great aren’t they? On this particular day I was getting a culture fix, trying to decipher the meanings of pieces of art at Ai Wei Wei’s exhibition in the Royal Academy and probably still remained a bit clueless at the end of it!

With late lunch booked at Tom’s Kitchen in Somerset House there were high hopes of a satisfying feed, beginning strongly with drinks to get our digestive juices flowing, our fingers were crossed it would continue in a similar style. Service was efficient from the outset and I would’ve been disappointed with anything less, considering it’s one of Tom Aiken’s establishments. Rather than being full of fancy posh dishes, the menu was littered with classics and comfort food dishes – perfect for the colder weather.

Even after a decent breakfast, trudging around for a few hours soon burned off any energy reserves and we were pretty ravenous by the time 2pm arrived. To start a crab cake and chicken liver parfait kicked off our lunch – the spicy crab and salad demolished in a couple of minutes with the partnership of cool cucumber and tomato balancing the heat from the crab cake nicely.

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I was a little disarmed when was faced with the portion in front of me, the curl of parfait was crazy big and would take some eating – I tried my best though! Great with the toasted brioche which was fully loaded with a bit of everything – the richly smooth parfait worked perfectly with the chutney and sharp cornichons, just enough to break up the richness and prevent it become too intense. However, despite my best efforts there was still parfait left, making me feel a touch of guilt because I hate wasting good food!

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Shepherd’s pie isn’t something I eat often, even at home I prefer the cottage equivalent and it’s not something I’ve ever ordered in a meal. However, on an Autumnal day it was a dish that was most welcome! Underneath a cheesy mash top was a generous layer of lamb, which I can be a bit funny about – I don’t know if you’re the same? It’s not my favourite meat – I’m all about beef, pork and seafood, sometimes struggling with the lambiness of the meat. I much prefer it spiced North African style because it disguises the innate flavour of the meat itself and in my opinion makes it a lot more interesting.

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The other half’s burger did all the right things and there were no complaints. Even though burgers are cooked through here, something stated by the waiter at the time, it was still incredibly juicy and must be testament to the quality of the meat used and the combination of ingredients in the patty. Topped with perfectly melted smoked Applewood cheddar, salty crisped bacon and a generous amount of gherkins there was plenty going on taste and texture-wise. No sign of the seemingly ever-present brioche bun here, with a sesame seed bun taking pride of place, as much as I love a brioche bun sometimes a touch of old-school is great too.

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Set within the grounds of the beautiful Somerset House, the restaurant ticks a lot of boxes and great if you are in  the centre of London. My only bug bear was the lacklustre atmosphere in the dining room, being separate from the bar it misses out on the extra ambience and character.

Tom’s Kitchen

Somerset House

Strand

London

WC2R 1LA

http://www.tomskitchen.co.uk/somerset-house

Whitelock’s Ale House, Leeds

When you think of the pubs in Leeds, Whitelock’s is synonymous with the very best. The oldest public house in the city celebrated a 300th birthday this year, but certainly hasn’t rested on its laurels since being taken over by a new owner in 2012. This much-loved establishment has always been renowned for its history and a passion for championing real ales from local breweries, all served by very knowledge staff. However, Whitelock’s isn’t all about quality beverages, they’ve given plenty of attention to a food menu that suits the pub with classic, hearty dishes made using ingredients from local producers, in particular Kirkstall Market. 

With a new chef at the helm, there are starter and light bite plates like the Heirloom beetroot and Yorkshire fine fettle salad or the stunner of a chorizo dish, accompanied with peas and mint sitting on top of a crumpet. Large chunks of chorizo from award winning Lishman’s of Ilkley had a beautiful smokiness without being too intense, peas (and their pods) brought sweetness and a lovely soft crumpet all made for a real scrumptious starter.

As far as main courses go there are classics such as beer battered fish and chips, Lishman’s sausage and mash and the homemade beef and ale pie with chips and veg which was my choice, also a few regularly changing specials. Even though the pie wasn’t fully encased in pastry, all was forgiven as it was a comforting and delicious crowdpleaser. The pastry lid itself was perfect – golden, crisp and flaky, and not let down by the filling underneath of tender beef and rich gravy, laced with ale. Along with good chunky chips and seasonal veg it was a wholesome plate of damn tasty food!

Whitelock’s is definitely serving food to match the quality of its drinks, this can only be an amazing thing and simply reinforces that yes, it may be in its 300th year, however the place is still pushing itself and striving to be even better than it already is!!! 

Whitelocks Ale House

Turks Head Yard
Leeds
LS1 6HB

0113 2423368 / 0113 2453950

http://www.whitelocksleeds.com

Sunday Lunch @ Tante Marie Restaurant, Woking

The last few weeks I’ve been slowly settling into my new surroundings and still on the hunt for great places to eat. At the moment Sunday mornings are spent either at the gym (other half), or running like a lunatic around the park trying my best to concentrate and stay on two feet, especially as the Berlin marathon is just over three weeks away!! I’ve got a healthy appetite at the best of times, so you can imagine after running for a few hours the need for something filling, hearty and tasty. Located on Woking’s pedestrianised high street is Tante Marie Restaurant, in these parts the establishment is known for its culinary school status – the oldest independent cookery school in the country no less, but a few months ago it opened a restaurant to show off some of the talent it nurtures.

The restaurants dining room is decked out in an informal yet stylish manner with smart wooden tables, comfy leather backed chairs and cool industrial style lighting – definitely a nice place to spend a few hours in. On Sundays there’s a set menu with two courses (£20) or three courses (£25) and as gluten free choices are important for the other half, we quickly checked with the kitchen what options were available. Fortunately there was good news with most dishes being GF or could be adapted to suit, so both of us went for two courses, surprisingly I went for a main course and dessert finding the idea of pink grapefruit and gin granita too irresistible.

Rabbit rillettes with gluten free croutes and salad started the lunch off well, the rillette still had substance and the rabbit came through subtly. The bread was a pleasant surprise and actually had the taste and texture of bread, unlike most we’ve tried which have been really tasteless and very un-breadlike! The rillette was an unexpected choice as pineapple is one the other half’s food hates, however it went well with the rabbit and helped cut through any richness, without masking its delicate flavour. 

Rabbit rillettes with gluten free croutes and salad

As far as roasts go the meat on both plates was beautifully cooked, portions were a little stingy though – just two slices of beef and a breast and a leg from a poussin, so hardly the largest of birds. Maybe I’m doing them a disservice as far as my plate goes as there was also some bacon and a chipolata alongside the chicken. The extras did their best to make up for it with a summery bowl of veg, roasties, mash, parsnips and the Yorkshire that were all done well. I’m a gravy lover, so there definitely could’ve been more and a gravy boat on the side would’ve pleased both the haters and gravy lovers amongst us. The bread sauce was fine and the horseradish cream needed more punch, it was far too polite and deserved a whack more heat! The Yorkshire was crisp and light, not the biggest but it did the trick, I always feel sorry for my husband as he has to go without and his roast dinner ends up looking a little lonely without one. In hindsight I wish I’d been quicker off the mark and suggested having his on my plate instead, considering it was still being paid for.

Topside of beef with spring onion mash, parsnips and roast potatoes

Roast poussin with bacon rolls, chipolata, spring onion mash, roast potatoes, parsnips, bread sauce, greens and Yorkshire pudding.

I was determined to finish lunch off with the granita that’d caught my eye early on and my decision was fully justified – absolutely no negatives with the dessert, I loved it! For someone who’s not really a fan of heavy puddings this was perfect – refreshingly sharp with pink grapefruit balanced by the sugary meringue, the cheeky hit of gin making it even better still.

Pink grapefruit and gin granita with crushed meringue

Overall, I really liked Tante Marie – there’s a good standard of cooking and waiting times are reasonable. The space is modern, formal without feeling stuffy and the staff are friendly and helpful. I’m sure it won’t be the last time I visit, I just hope they’re more generous with the meat on a roast and have a bit more punch to some of the additional extras. 

Tante Marie Restaurant

High Street

Woking

Surrey