Posts for the 'Gastropubs' Category

ETM Bar crawl

This past Wednesday I attended the ETM bloggers bar crawl which was super, super fun. Blogger friends who came along included Greedy Diva, LondonFoodie, WineSleuth, Missimmo, Teatimeinwonderland and Faerietalefoody. ETM operate a number of gastropubs in London and we hopped along from one ETM bar after another, sampling food and drinks (listed at the bottom of this post) along the way.

First up was the lovely, elegant Chiswell Street Dining Rooms where we tried a number of canapés such as seared Isle of Man king scallop with crispy bacon and pea purée; smoked eel with horseradish; foie gras ballotine on brioche with Madeira jelly; leek and wild mushroom tart and soft boiled quail’s egg with truffled duxelle. Particularly delicious was the mini Aberdeen Angus beef Wellington as the meat was plump and juicy.

At The Hat and Tun we had a starter of Herefordshire snail & smoked bacon pie with a Guinness and mushroom cream sauce. The snails were nice, but the sauce was very runny, and both the filling and the pastry needed more seasoning.

Snail & smoked bacon pie

Snail & smoked bacon pie

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Fox and Grapes

Ludlow in Shropshire is a gorgeous country market town which at one point boasted of more Michelin starred restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the world. One of these included Hibiscus before Chef Claude Bosi relocated the restaurant to London (Mayfair) in 2007. A brave move many said, but it seems to have worked out just fine for Hibiscus. Not only did Hibiscus regain its second Michelin star which it lost when it first moved, but it also now holds a place in The San Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurant’s Awards.

With Fox and Grapes, Bosi makes another mark on the London dining scene. Brother Cedric manages the day-to-day while Patrick Leano, formerly the sous chef at Hibiscus, runs the kitchen. The site of an old London inn on Wimbledon Common, the gastropub retains many original features and is lovely and quaint.

It was hard to think that Fox and Grapes would be any ordinary gastropub given its affiliation with Claude Bosi. That said, the mains on the menu were fairly uninteresting (sausage and mash, gratin provencal (ratatouille), mutton moussaka, pollock, chicken, and steaks, etc) and not as inspirational as it could have been given the Michelin-starred status of the gastropub’s patron.

We kicked off with some bar snacks including a wild boar scotch egg (£4.50) which gave way to a runny yolk centre. But the boar meat, whilst well cooked and decidedly gamey in flavour, was too peppery.

Wild boar scotch egg

Wild boar scotch egg

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The Sportsman

Baked oyster with gooseberry granite

Baked oyster with gooseberry granite

I found it mildly amusing to read what had been written on the ‘location tab’ of The Sportsman’s website, a one Michelin starred gastropub situated in Kent. It goes something like this:

“A common theme in many write-ups and reviews is that The Sportsman is remote, bleak and a bit of a dump. Equally, many regulars find this point of view shocking as they love to arrive early, go for a walk on the beach and then have lunch or dinner.”

I suppose the view of the former group was not easily dispelled for me, seeing as the day of our visit was a rainy, bleak day in June. Who would have believed it was summer?! And the long journey from London (a tube ride to Victoria Station, a 1½ hour train ride to Faversham, and taxi from Faversham to The Sportsman) further confirmed the assertion of remoteness.

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The Restaurant at the 3 Weeds: The story of the girl and the 3 Weeds

Pork belly with caramelised apple and morcilla

Pork belly at The Restaurant at the 3 Weeds

In a few days I am sadly due to leave the glorious sunny and temperate Sydney shores to traverse my way over many seas back to the onset of autumn in London. Like a good movie, a splendid ending was called for. I wracked my brains, wanting a memorable story with a grand dining finale. So like a good location scout, I searched and searched and think I found the spot. It’s called The Restaurant at the 3 Weeds, and here is my story…

The story:

The story begins when, as a little six year old girl, I first registered the existence of the 3 Weeds Pub in my young consciousness. Back then, it was known as the Rose, Shamrock and Thistle, a pub situated roughly somewhere halfway between where I used to live and where I went to school. There would be many occasions when I’d walk past it, realising it was a place where those big grown ups would go to drink and be merry.

(Continue reading her story…)

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