Category Archives: Pub

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

White Hart, Witley

The White Hart is a 16th century pub found in Witley, a small village in Surrey for those of you, who like me, hadn’t heard of the place before and had no idea of where it was. Despite its age this pub’s definitely pushing the boat out and made the bold choice of veering off the tried and tested route of typical pub fare. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m always up for a decent fish and chips or Sunday roast, but if you’re expecting classic pub grub you’ll be disappointed.

We were pointed in the direction of the White Hart by my brother in-law and I can see why, a few years ago the menu became focused around burgers, barbecue, whisky and beer – enlisting BBQ Whisky Beer, winners of Ribstock in 2013 to devise a menu. A number of cultural influences including North American, North African and Korean to name a few have been taken on board, making the menu and interesting read and it doesn’t disappoint. So much so we revisited a few weeks after our first! Not only have they revamped the food menu, the drinks menu causes a bit of a stir too – expect craft beers, flights of whisky and unusually named cocktails, such as Hard Knocks & Slut Drops and Yuzu Nikka. Miso Horny?!

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Our two visits came at different times of the day – our first was a Saturday evening and the second a late Sunday lunch, so I think it gave me a good overview of what goes on at the White Hart. Now in a culinary age where burgers and barbecue have virtually been done to death, the menu pushes the boundaries making what could be a standard burger and barbecue menu into something a bit different from the norm. Diners will find a selection of starters, burgers, barbecue including their award winning Jacobs Ladder beef rib, sides including slaw, salads, mac and cheese. There’s always smoked ribs, 3 ways a B.O.T.M (burger of the month) and a special on offer too.
Here’s a summary of some of the dishes we had from both visits:

Scallops with crispy pork – a popular combination done well. The surf and turf elements were spot on – it’s hard to fault plump, soft scallops, cooked till barely translucent paired with salty, crispy bacon.

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Scallops, crisp pork, Thai garnish

Stunning Iberico pork ribs, juicy and tender with enough charring to add a smokiness to meat that fell off the bone. The pickle on the side working well bringing a little acidity to the plate. They were so tasty, in hindsight I wish I’d ordered the bigger portion!

Iberico pork baby back ribs w/ house pickles 
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Chicken wings, hot sauce, blue cheese and celery
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Crab cocktail, charred gem, fried avocado and nduja aioli

Spot on beef royale burger; perfectly pink, juicy patty cooked as stated by the waitress on ordering, topped with beef short rib slices which brought incredible smoky flavour and meatiness, a neutral cheese and a pickle to help cut through the richness. For me, burgers need to juggle a balancing act of flavours, juiciness and enough hold so it doesn’t fall apart and make a big mess. There was just the right amount of mess and give in the burger, where you could hold it intact to the last bite.

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Beef Royale burger – classic burger, short rib and portobello mushroom

B.O.T.M – Chinese burns on the beach; a fusion of asian and scottish by all accounts. May sound odd and even read odd on paper, but by all accounts made for a great burger – a classic burger topped with a haggis and black pudding fritter, hoi sin shredded duck, and bunny and fosters cheese. Unlike mine, the burger was a really messy one and definitely needed a knife and fork to tackle the beast.

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B.O.T.M – Chinese burns on the beach

Chicken shawarma – so much meat, seemed like half a chicken was on my plate, sat on top of a cucumber salsa, smear of hummus and a flatbread. The meat itself was juicy and delicately spiced, my favourite pieces are always the wings, thighs and legs rather than the breast and this was reinforced here. It was a large plate and I couldn’t eat it all, it didn’t go to waste though as the other half was happy to finish it off for me. If I was to fault it, it would be the flatbread, I found it a bit thick and would’ve preferred it on the side with the accompaniments, rather than on the plate where it became soggy from the hummus. 

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Chicken Shawarma

As much as the burgers and shawarma had gone down a treat, I reckon the stars of the show were the beef short ribs, which happen to be winners of Ribstock in 2013. The ribs cooked in a wood smoker were sublime, producing beautifully flavoursome meat where a subtle smokiness allowed the beef’s innate meatiness to come through. All that remained on the plate were two clean bones!

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Coal roasted sweet potato w/  dill aioli, black garlic 

The White Hart’s a great pub and definitely worth travelling to, with its relaxed coach house feel, friendly service and stand out food! I’ll be looking in the diary for our 3rd visit! 

The White Hart

Petworth Road

Witley

Godalming

GU8 5PH

http://whitehartwitley.co.uk

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

Charterhouse Arms, Godalming

There are pros and cons to being down South, as much as I miss Leeds it does being much closer to people who we’ve not been able to see as often as we’d like, so for that it’s all good. A couple of Saturdays ago a catch-up was planned with relatives in Farncombe, for anyone who hasn’t heard of the place or know where it is, it’s basically a village in Surrey. We were crashing a 40th birthday party later that evening and were in need of a quick feed to line the stomach, readying ourselves for the inevitable. A local pub called the Charterhouse Arms in Godalming had been talked about as a stop-off for a bite to eat, once well known in the area for a being a decent boozer serving curries, but a few months ago the team behind the curries decided to move and open their own place elsewhere. It’s since taken on new management, undergone a makeover and brought in a new evening menu serving tapas. The pub’s found on the corner of a fairly busy road that runs along the edge of Godalming and knowing it was a popular spot, took up one of their outdoor tables  – perfect on what was a lovely sunny evening.

The menu offers a decent number of small tapas plates, ranging from £3.25 – £5.25, a couple of sharing platters, plenty for both carnivores and veg lovers. Orders were taken at the bar and after a reasonable length of time we were brought a steady stream of dishes.

NB: apologies for the quality of the photos – all taken on my iPhone.

Selection of cured meats, tortilla and braised pork cheeks
Gambas Pil
Crispy squid with aioli
Albondigas, patatas bravas and chorizo in red wine

Of the eight dishes my favourites were the seafood – think beautifully cooked prawns, all the better for being messy and juicy with loads of garlic and a little background heat from chilli. Also a generous portion of soft squid, lightly covered in a crisp batter with a large dollop of garlicky aioli to dunk them, the meaty, smokey chorizo was a bit of a winner and the patatas bravas were decent, but could’ve been a bit chunkier. For me, the other dishes were a little hit and miss and would’ve been helped along with more accurate seasoning – both the Spanish omelette and the pork cheek could’ve done with a pinch of salt, the omelette’s texture didn’t live up to others I’ve had and I wished the pork cheek had been left whole, so we could find out for ourselves how tender it was rather than being served already shredded up. A sauce would’ve brought it to life more too.

Overall I liked the Charterhouse Arms – the staff were lovely and we got really friendly service, the menu isn’t too pricey and the place has a relaxed setting. They’ve been open since June and even though it certainly wasn’t perfect, I’d go again and would love to see how it improves.

Charterhouse Arms

Deanery Rd

Godalming

GU7 2PQ

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Charterhouse-Arms/129686450415449

The Black Swan, Call Lane, Leeds #2

Ok, a heartfelt apology first! I posted this earlier by accident, without it being properly finished, something I’ve done before when blogging on my phone! Trust me for not learning from my mistakes, then frustration set in when I couldn’t get onto the page to sort it out properly….ARGH!! Especially when I get an email about any confusion caused or due to an inadequate amount of information!! So BIG apologies if you read this earlier and was a little miffed?!

As regular readers know I do not usually accept free invitations to preview events, and stopped doing this months ago. However, on this occasion I went to one last week, as this venture had a link to other long-standing Leeds independent Sandinista.

People familiar with the Call Lane area of Leeds city centre will know it’s a street heavily laden with bars, well known spots such as Oporto and Jake’s amongst others have served Leeds folk well for years, mostly open till the early hours with loud music. My friends and I used to spend many an hour on Friday or Saturday nights in these bars ourselves, so I know from experience.

Of course there’s Arts Cafe and Rolands (love your pizza fritta) doing great things all day, but where Bar Room Bar once resided the place has been rejuvenated and joined these other establishments also opening throughout the day. Called The Black Swan and owned by Shane Quigley and Si Ord (Sandinista and Smokestack), it trying to offer something different to the norm in this part of town, where more often than not the usual clientele is on a night out. They’ve kept the old pizza oven and with the help of Anthony Flinn (of Anthony’s fame) who worked with Si Ord previously on Sandinista’s menu, they’re producing sourdough pizzas. If that wasn’t enough chefs drafted in from Crafthouse and Rare will serve more traditional fare, such as Sunday lunch from the upstairs kitchen. Being part of the Sandinista family, quality drinks are also on the table with craft ales, quality wines and great cocktails available. A nice touch is also their takeaway facility too. 

Here are some photos from my visit last week: 

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So what will you see on the pizza menu, all are made using sourdough which is freshly made every day on site. Left to prove for 24 hours allows its flavour to develop. Prices range from £5.95 – £8.95 and as always both vegetarians and carnivores sound spoilt for choice, such as Yorkshire blue cheese and basil for non-meat eaters. The carnivores amongst us will be pleased to hear they have some wonderful sounding pizzas gracing the menu, I have already picked out which I think may become my favourites – garlic, potato, thyme and lardo (£7.95), every bit of it sounds great, potato is an unusual ingredient on a pizza but it works, and I love the fatty/meaty richness of lardo!! Also the Yorkshire chorizo, roasted peppers and red pesto (£7.95) could be a go-er too! A lunch menu has a smaller number of pizzas, served with a mixed salad at £5.95 and they being a family friendly place, they have 6″ pizzas for little ones at £3.95. 

On the non-pizza front I’ll be interested to see if their Sunday lunch is up to scratch too.

This could definitely be a place to venture out to, whatever time of the day!

The Black Swan
37 Call Lane
LS1 6DT
https://www.facebook.com/blackswanleeds?fref=ts

Disclaimer: As I have stated above, I did attend a preview of the venue (this is a very rare occasion I may add and I won’t be making a habit of it).

Black Swan on Urbanspoon