Tag Archives: traditional British cooking

The Scolt Head, 107A Culford Rd, London, N1 4HT

The Happiness Project London has been accused of never going anywhere North of the river (Max!), so Amy’s birthday was a good excuse to check out The Scolt Head in De Beauvoir (near Dalston/Hackney) on Sunday.

This area of London intrigues me in that: (i) people can be quite old-school posh; (ii) you get families, babies and older people in pubs ; (iii) everyone seems to come from London originally, and many live round the corner from where they grew up; and (iv) everyone seems to know each other.   This is very different to where I live, as many of us have moved to London from elsewhere, there’s a hundred different nationalities, and certainly in Clapham Common pubs you’d be hard pushed to find anyone over 35.  So, I liked the novelty of being in a real “local pub” and kicked myself, not for the first time, for living dahn Saff (although I love what’s happening in Brixtonia, more soon).

The Scolt Head seems typical of a North London local boozer – it’s the self-proclaimed “De Beauvoir’s local” and could almost be an old village pub in Surrey.  Wooden tables, regulars who greet the bar staff as friends, traditional British cooking, the Sunday papers lying around, pool tables, high chairs and toddlers.

They had traditional ales on tap, decent wine, and an interesting menu that included a yummy Onion Tart to start (other starters sounded good too – Potted Old Spot Pork Belly, Smoked Salmon Pickled Beetrot & Cucumber, Chicory Goats’ Cheese and Smoked Bacon) and mains included a huge plate of Roast Beef with Roast Potatoes, Curly Kale, Yorkshire Pudding & Gravy (other mains were Whole Baked Trout, Braised Pork Cheeks and Root Vegetable, Pumpkin and Mascarpone Strudel).   Puds were Apple Crumble and Cream, Bread & Butter Pudding, Forest Berry Trifle and Neil’s Yard Cheeses with Chutney.  The roast was pretty good – my beef was delicious and pink although some said it was overdone, and you can tell you’re in a posh pub when it’s served with home-made chunky horseradish sauce (yum).

Certainly, the noise levels got quite high with all those shrieking kids (leading someone to remark about the downside of the smoking ban) and it got jam-packed after 2pm leading to pretty stressed out staff, but it was a great place to have a natter with good friends – a warm old pub and perfect for a traditional Sunday lunch

I’ve already tried the Duke of Cambridge organic gastropub near Angel (good but pricey) and  The Marquess Tavern – see, I do go North sometimes! – which were both decent gastro-boozers,  and I’d definitely go back to The Scolt Head for another lazy lunch.  I do think we’re missing an old-fasioned boozer that has a great traditional menu  in Brixton/Clapham, apart from maybe The Landor, The Calf, The Abbeville and The Avalon.  I’m definitely looking forward to more Sunday lunches in that part of town – just waiting for the invite, A & M!

Scolt Head on Urbanspoon

Best steak/meat feast in London – Santa Maria Del Sur/32 Great Queen Street

Sometimes, the body just craves iron. Well, that’s what I tell myself anyway. There are some nights when only a big juicy steak will do – so below are my ultimate meat feast restos in London. My other guilty pleasure is the perfect burger – I have to have at least one a month. My new year’s resolution is to find the best burger in London (and renew my gym membership obv) so keep an eye out in 2010.

Santa Maria Del Sur, 129 Queenstown Road, London, SW8 3RH, 020 7622 2088

I actually went to Santa Maria Del Sur in summer on a quiet Saturday night with El G, having been recommended it by Lady B; and I couldn’t believe it when I switched on Gordon Ramsay’s F Word last Monday night and saw it compete for, and win, the Best Local Restaurant Competition for the Americas .

If you live in Clapham or Battersea, its definitely worth a trip to Queenstown Road to visit. It feels like a proper local restaurant – the sort of place you can roll off your sofa after Harry Hill’s TV Burp, shove on a pair of jeans and trainers and go along for some grub. It’s cosy, romantic, and the staff are incredibly friendly. The ones we met were all Argentinian and the manager, Jose – who featured on the F Word – has the biggest biceps I’ve even seen (apparently a feature of Argentinian men, ladies).

Its a place for Argentinian wine and steak – simple, perfectly cooked, flavoursome. There’s nothing pretentious or fancy about it, they are proud of their Argentinian roots and know how to cook a steak perfectly. Great for steak lovers, chilled out dinners with friends (they do a shared meat platter) or partners, and a nice relaxed Saturday night out.
Santa Maria Del Sur on Urbanspoon

32 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5AA, 020 7242 5560

I’d also recommend for meat eaters the wonderful 32 Great Queen Street, sister restaurant to the Anchor & Hope on The Cut, and home to traditional British cooking – gamey, heavy, and tastes like what is on your place was jogging along the hillside just hours before – it probably was.

Great for relaxed Sunday lunches or chilled out dinners with friends – superb British cooking with pates, soups and terrines to start, and fresh fish or meat as a main. At the Anchor & Hope version we shared pheasant and rabbit; at 32 Great Queen Street I had tasty pig’s cheeks and El G had lamb’s neck which looked like it had been guillotined off there and then. Some of our friends ordered the beef rib between six and got half a cow on a plate, cooked to perfection, a slab of rare beef with blood swimming round it. The boys were drooling a la Homer Simpson and someone mentioned the “meat sweats” – the sort of food I’d imagine served in a country mansion after a hunt years ago. Something your dad or boyfriend would love, and they were super nice to my veggie friend Lady B too.
Great Queen Street on Urbanspoon

Another noteable mention, is the Stonhouse in Clapham – great for a steak and a glass of Malbec – for the iron bien sur…