I'm a freelance beer, food and pubs writer, as well as an accredited Beer Sommelier. These are a mix of original musings and experiences, as well as some columns originally published elsewhere. All my opinions are subject to radical alteration after another pint.
Monday, 25 February 2013
Along with a set of Beer Goggles and a fully working Beer Compass...Inapub February 2013
Along with a set of Beer
Goggles and a fully working Beer Compass, no visit to the pub should be
undertaken without a functional set of Beer Cutlery. While these may resemble
your fingers, under the magic influence of a pint they become wondrous utensils
which enable you to consume foodstuffs that you wouldn’t go near in the cold
light of day.
Twiglets are high on my
personal list. I can normally get by quite happily without troubling my insides
with sharp, pointy breadsticks smeared with Marmite, but after a single sip of
best bitter they become irresistible.
The Beer Cutlery
equivalent of moving onto hard drugs is clearly the Kebab. It may take a few
pints, but there comes a point when even the most fastidious gourmet realises
that the only way to put a dent in their gnawing hunger is to ingest
unidentified grilled meatoid cubes, garnished with limp salad and a chilli
sauce with the half-life of strontium.
However, I’m pleased to
let you know that I’ve discovered the pub food equivalent of the Holy Grail – a
dish that tastes amazing when you’ve had a beer or two, and actually excites
the taste buds even more when you’re stone cold sober.
The gastronomic treat in
question is the Cheese & Onion Toastie served at The Hope in Carshalton,
which is the current CAMRA Greater London Pub of the Year and, for me, a
bracing 15 minute stroll from home. A few days before Christmas, I tried one
while marking the festive season with a couple of mates. The combination of
expertly-toasted crusty bread, melted mature cheddar and lightly sautéed onions
So sublime, in fact that I
doubted myself, and crept back to the Hope in the sober dawn of 2013 to give
the Toastie another go – and it was just as good accompanied by an orange
juice. This is pub food as is should be, and all the better for being served in
a ‘real’ pub.
On the menu this month: As
one of the unfortunate one-twelfth of the population with a birthday in
January, a month when no one has any money and most people seem to be dieting,
I’m used to low-key celebrations. Little gestures make all the difference, so
amidst a flurry of emails from pubs and restaurants offering various birthday
discounts, it was nice to get the offer of a free ice-cream sundae from
M&B’s Toby Carvery. That’s makes a birthday feel a lot more special than a
five quid off voucher..
This 'Pub Food with
Porter' column appears in the February 2013 issue of Inapub