Tag Archives: Mason & Taylor

Some nice places I’ve eaten at lately

I’ve been trying to lose some weight so I’ve restricted my dining out to … oh … three times a week or so. Here’s a little selection of the places that have tingled my taste buds in the last couple of weeks:

1. Mason & Taylor, 51-55 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA

A cute little bar near Old Street serving an incredible selection of craft beers and real ales – best beer I’ve had in London and so nice to see some great blonde and amber Belgian beers like Chimay and Westmalle served ice cold on tap.

Accompanying your beer are some well-thought out locally-sourced organic English tapas plates. Sadly these weren’t as amazing as I wanted them to be. Unlike Terroirs (French), Polpo/etto (Italian), Dishoom (Indian) or most Spanish tapas, you just didn’t get that zing or oomph in every small plate. This isn’t necessarily their fault – the menu is certainly really interesting – but the food was a little under-seasoned and The Chef pointed out that trying to do English tapas is hard because you don’t get those powerful flavours and spices that you get with other cuisines. Everything was nice – ox tongue, Scotch quails eggs, wild boar sausage with beetroot mash, arbroath smokie, beef sirloin – but just a little dull. To oomph it up you’d need much more seasoning, some spicy mustard or horseradish perhaps, full “wow” flavours, something a bit deeper. But it was my first experience of jerusalem artichoke (which was lovely with a nice aioli) – delicious and indeed fartichoky. I would certainly not have been welcome in Malawi last Wednesday evening.

I would definitely go back to try the delicious beers again and am reliably informed by a friend that after several beers, the Scotch quails egg tastes like manna from heaven so they may just have got it right after all.

The Chef and I were guests of Mason & Taylor and thank them very much for their kind hospitality & lovely service.

Mason & Taylor on Urbanspoon

2. The Telegraph, Putney Heath, SW15 3TU

This place prides itself as being a country pub in London and it is indeed – huge and high-ceilinged with wooden tables and chairs and a fire in winter and lots of greenery outside. I also thought you might like to admire my new bike panier in the foreground of the shot (newly christened bike geek!). Anyway, like all good Sunday lunch pubs, it serves a good spicy Bloody Mary, decent Chilean Merlot, and a nice roast dinner. It’s also a nice cycle ride from here to Richmond Park if you wanted to work all that food off.

It’s a good place to come if you’ve got kids or want to watch the rugby – but the room upstairs contained about 200 small children – including 20 or so newborns (scary-looking NCT Sunday lunch?) – so if you’re feeling a little delicate from the night before you’d probably be better off sitting downstairs.

A bloody mary, pint of cider, starter, roast dinner and far too much red wine came to £35 each.

Telegraph on Urbanspoon

3. Lantana, 13 Charlotte Place, Fitzrovia, W1T 1SN

I’d tried a Lantana coffee a while back for my coffee shop project, but had never eaten there, and was tempted to go back to meet Maximillian for lunch and to eat their corn fritters with bacon, rocket and creme fraiche. I am a massive fan of corn fritters having had a fetish for them ever since my mother used to cook them with our Sunday fry up. My mother’s corn fritters remain the best I have EVER tasted, second place being at Bill Grainger’s restaurant in Sydney. We need MORE corn fritters on brunch menus please, as well as more huevos rancheros.

Anyway Lantana is a nice place only I wish they’d just knock down the wall between “in” and “out” to make it a bit more open and less narrow. And that they close the door as it was freezing throughout lunch (I realise I’m verging into whingeing territory here which is very un-HPL but Max and I have this covered – we are setting up an anti-HPL blog for the express purpose of whingeing & moaning, so this blog can remain as enthusiastic and positive as normal). Anyway, the corn fritters were yummy – lovely salsa and creme fraiche and nice crunchy bacon, only I’d have loved to taste the creamy salty corn a bit more – el madre could maybe give them a few tips. Lovely flat whites to finish too.

My corn fritter, apple and elderflower juice and flat white with 12.5% tip added to the bill (not really necessary for lunch?) came to just under £20.

Lantana on Urbanspoon

The arrival of the HPL monthly competition and win tickets to the launch of Mason & Taylor pub

In a slight change of direction for the HPL (and thank you to the gorgeous Lady B and assorted friends for the idea) I am starting a new monthly competition where you, lovely readers – and may I say you look simply STUNNING today – get to contribute on what makes you happy in London;  win free stuff as a result; AND the opportunity to write a little guest post for the HPL at the end.

  • So, in January I’ll be asking what makes you happy post-Christmas break when you feel fat and cold and I’ll be asking suitable venues to cough up free tickets/treats to the person who comes up with the best suggestions.
  • In February, around Valentine’s Day, I’ll be asking what is the best date-night in London and the most interesting (preferably saucy) responses will win a great prize.
  • And I’ll be sharing all your suggestions and mine on the blog and will only ask the prize winner to let me know if they enjoyed their prize and their thoughts on it, for a guest blog post (sending me a quick email is fine too, don’t worry).
  • So HPL readers who have nice prizes that they can offer, get in touch (I’m looking at YOU).

For December, the HPL is thinking about cold, rainy, dark weekends and catching up with friends before we all set off for Christmas and drinking / eating far too much. I’m thinking warm pubs and sharing plates and pints.

So this month, the HPL has two pairs of tickets to the launch event for Mason & Taylor, a new bar/drinking den opening this December in the East End (Bethnal Green Road), on Thursday 9 December 2010. Here’s some blurb about the pub: It has been set up by the founders of the award-winning The Duke of Wellington in Dalston. And I’m excited because the founders include Ed Mason who opened various venues in Leeds including The Faversham (The Faversham! My second home at Uni, venue for drunken attempts at The Worm on breakdancing nights, and having to climb out of my flatmate’s boot in a very short dress because his car doors didn’t work). It will sell craft beers, spirits, authentic cider and English wine (interesting) and serve classic British sharing dishes like rabbit & crayfish terrine with pea puree & shoots, York ham, poached duck egg and parsley sauce, ginger beer battered squid and pickled ox tongue. Yum.

If you fancy winning tickets to the launch night then the question is this: What makes the perfect winter Sunday lunch? Send me your responses by Friday 26 November either on the HPL facebook page or on twitter (@happyprojectLDN) or as a comment to this post. I’ll pick my favourite two and you’ll receive a pair of tickets each. I’ll also be there to say hi (will be the blonde invariably propping up the bar – purely for research purposes). And feel free to look at the HPL section on best places for Sunday lunch for inspiration.

I’ll start. My perfect winter Sunday lunch would be somewhere like the Drapers Arms or 32 Great Queen Street or the Canton Arms. It would involve a big group of friends, old friends and good ones, who I don’t need to spend time catching up with or finding out how they are. We just settle into jokes and taking the piss straight away. People arrive late and laughing and hungover from a Christmas party the night before. There is a lot of gossip and funny stories, including inappropriate snogging and dance-offs at work parties and similar. We start with pints of cider, mumbling about irresponsible Sunday drinking, then order a sharing plate of beef with all the trimmings. We go on to red wine. Everyone is happy and red-cheeked and we might even swap presents. We stay too long, drink too much. We get overly affectionate and hug and go home, smiling, even through the Monday morning sore head.

Now you…

UPDATE:  Sorry I got the date wrong, launch is on Wednesday 8 December – hope thats still ok! Will announce winners tomorrow…

UPDATE: And the winners of the first ever HPL competition are…. drumroll… oh how exciting…CHIARA and LITTLE MISS RANDOM for referring to morning drinking and bloody marys respectively. Enjoy it ladies and let me know how it goes 🙂 xxx