One sunny morning, we headed to Smithfield & Clerkenwell, to check things out. The area has been attracting a lot of designers & architects. It is a lot quieter and not that far from St. Paul’s. We were looking for a pub that had been recommended, but the menu for lunch did not appeal, so we went back down the block to The Crown Tavern, a gastropub, on Clerkenwell Green where customers who were leaving, having had lunch, said to go in, so we did! The “Apollo Lounge” upstairs, was once a renowned concert hall. The pub was full downstairs, so up to the Lounge we go. We both loved our craft beers and our lunch; smoked haddock risotto for the fish lover and a beef cheek pie for me. How can you go to England and not have a savoury pie? It was really good! The “pudding” we ordered, to share, was sticky toffee pudding with vanilla pod ice cream, absolutely gorgeous and not as sweet as you might think. The pudding was the beginning of our love affair with English desserts on the trip.
A trip to Canterbury had been planned for this trip and my husband, doing his due diligence, had come across a restaurant that he wanted to try. Deeson’s British Restaurant turned out to be a real find in Kent. Kent is well known as “the garden of England” and for their apples and a by-product of growing apples (OK maybe not a by-product) is cider and we couldn’t let down the locals by not sampling some! One was “Kentish Pip” and the other “Kent Bramley Seedling Cider”. Both were excellent and were totally different from the other. The Bramley Seedling was really dry, with an unusual (for us) flavour, the bubbles having almost a champagne quality to them. Fish lover guy had mussels in a cider sauce and said they were the most plump & tasty mussels he had ever had and “white fish only” me, ordered, just to see, their haddock & chips. Wonderful fish, perfectly cooked, moist & flaky, both of us had the chips and they were excellent, not the least bit greasy and they came unsalted! I detest the fact that here in Vancouver, cooks think we need our chips salted by them. NO WAY! Stop this practice now. I can salt if I wish, or not, thank you very much! Maybe they do it to hide lousy chips? Did I mention “pudding”? This time it was in the form of a warm Kentish Apple Crumble served with warm custard. Now I don’t know about you, but I have a thing for custard, I just love it! The Apple Crumble was good too!
Not a Kudo
Wandering about one day, we had no plans for a big lunch because we were going out for dinner. We trekked about all morning until we got hungry, then decided to get a bite to eat; ending up at Patisserie Valerie in Sicilian Street. These restaurants are all over the place in London. We ordered a Mediterranean Croque Monsieur sandwich and a Caesar Salad with grilled chicken. What a disappointment. When the meal arrived the sandwich was burnt all around the edges, the only way to eat any of it was to remove all the burnt edges. The salad was a complete disaster. It looked like the chicken had been precooked, sliced and then thrown on the flat top to grill up. There was what appeared to be supermarket bacon (this in a country that has fabulous bacon), and then the dressed romaine had a bunch more chopped up bacon mixed into it. I was really craving a salad but by the time I picked off the overcooked chicken, the cheap bacon and so on, I was pretty fed up. I am not a person who complains at restaurants, but this really got my dander up. When the waiter came to remove our half eaten food, he inquired how everything was; now’s my chance! I told my husband that if the waiter asked, I would tell him how bad it was and I did. We both felt that whoever is responsible for their food programme needs a good kick in the butt. If I was serving that food, I would be embarrassed to do so!
Thank God for the wonderful dinner we had later, it made up for such a dreadful lunch.
Click here to see more of what we ate in London!