One of the many great things about living in the UK is the pub culture. There’s the good and bad of it all starting with the usual ‘local’ – or neighbourhood pub that serves pints of overflowing ales and pub grub like burgers and pies. Complete with the ‘fragrance’ of stale beer and cigarette smoke from pre-2007 and not forgetting the sticky worn out carpets that clings to the bottom of your shoes.
On the other end of the spectrum you may find a beautiful Victorian pub, with classic furnishings and hand-painted windows and motifs. Aside from an endless list of ales and lagers, there’s also various ciders, imported brews and wine. The food is usually worth its weight as well, many also claiming to be ‘gastro-pubs’, with chefy-looking plates of food which would fall under the category of ‘modern British’.
My personal favourite ‘type’ of pub would be one that’s rich in history, yet well-maintained and preserved like my ‘local’ – the Prince Alfred – which has been used as a location site for a number of movies – including ‘The Wedding Date’ (2005) starring Dermot Mulroney and Debra Messing. Stuccoed ceilings, frosted windows, partitioned seating areas make up part of the beauty that is the Alfred. The drink choices are plentiful and the food in the ‘back room’ also known as The Formosa Dining Room certainly lives up to gastro-pub standards. It’s just around the corner to my flat, but I haven’t quite made the ‘blog’ trip there, meaning with camera in tow and blogging hat on. I do hope to do that soon though.
However, I have visited another pub recently that I thought was worth a mention. The Washington – located on the swanky side of Belsize Park. Not quite as pretty as the Prince Alfred, but it has it’s own character. Dark wood furnishings, large clear windows, underlying red colour theme reflected in the lighting, ceilings and soft furnishings.
We visited this pub with a friend who currently lives in Florida and does not quite have the luxury of a good local pub, much less a good pub meal. When we suggested going for Sunday Roast…he was more than happy. And so were we!
Starters consisted of Mushrooms and Stilton on Toast. Oh yeah – not just a regular mushies on toast mind you. Creamy melted stilton cheese and juicy mushrooms – what a combination. Very very delish.
We also shared a pulled pork pate which was served in a glass with thick slices of warm grilled bread to spread the pate on. Two thumbs up on both the starters.
All three of us went for the Sunday roast. We had a choice of pork, beef, lamb or chicken. We ended up with one beef, one lamb and one pork. All with the same trimmings of a big fluffy Yorkshire pudding, cabbage (which was a little too bland and mushy, so was rather meh), crisp roasted potatoes and parsnips. It’s a large portion, but it was good enough that we cleaned our plates…
I had my succulent slices of roast pork with this apple and sage jelly and it was perfect. Juicy pork and crunchy cracking, smeared with a mildly sweet apple jelly with a hint of spicy sage.
We shared the starters and thought it would be wise to share the desserts too – which were sticky toffee pudding, rich dark chocolate brownie and a ginormous cheese platter. The desserts were good but nothing extraordinary and wasn’t quite up there on the droolfactor.
It seemed like we ate A LOT between the three of us…I won’t deny it, we did. We just could not stop…but what an excellent way to spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon don’t you agree?
50 England’s Lane
London NW3 4UE