Having recently written a Crafty Pint feature on the London beer scene, it brought me back to previous posts hailing SE1, and indeed the South, as the place for all things beer. I’m now left pondering whether North of the River is actually out in front. It’s keeping me up at nights and no end of counting sheep seems to help.
While the Dean Swift, Rake, Draft House et al are as ever excellent, recent visits to Katzenjammers were dismal. I won’t waste too much time on this, but table service should have an element of well service in it and eye contact in some form shows that you’re still awake. I may have to get my fix of proper Pretzel and Paulaner elsewhere from now on. Any suggestions on the proper Pretzel front appreciated. Now it’s not really that the South on declining. It’s just that the case for the North seems to be getting stronger.
In addition to all the usual suspects of the Euston Tap, Mason & Taylor, Jolly Butchers and Cask I seemed to have blanked EC1 out of my mind. Strange as it’s a place I lived, worked and drunk in throughout my formative London years. It counts amongst it’s great pubs, The Gunmakers with an always excellent beer selection and menu, The Peasant, Jerusalem Tavern, Three Kings, of course the Ye Olde Mitre. The Castle (just inside EC4) tucked away on Furnival Street has consistently good Ale on offer and recently the odd keg of Anchor. This would all be compelling enough in itself. The killer blow has to be the soon to open Craft Beer Co. on Leather Lane. Although sad to see the Clockhouse, a decent enough market pub, close its doors, the fact it will be reopened by the team behind Cask is enough to raise a cheer.
Now can you see my dilemna? In the interests of me getting some sleep I throw it open to you. North of the River v. South of the River… vote, discuss, let me get some sleep!
You can see the Ghosts of London’s pub past around every corner. Derelict pubs boarded and decaying, converted pubs stripped of their past and signs of long defunct Brewers etched in stone and glass. It’s rare that once gone these ghosts can pass back but I’ve being seeing apparitions in Vauxhall and Clerkenwell in the form of Truman’s Runner.
A few years ago I sat with English in a pub having one of those conversations that you tend to have after a few pints. It revolved around reviving names like Truman’s. The beauty of such an idea being that the name already has recognition for many and that name is on old Truman pubs across East London. As with most of these conversations it’s lost in the mind fog that you tend to get by pint 5 or 6. Then years later and I’m reminded of this conversation by the first apparition in Vauxhall’s, Black Dog and again in the Peasant, Clerkenwell.
It passed me by that the Truman story had started a new chapter in 2010 and judging by Runner, a solid sessionable ale, it won’t be the last. For more info see their website.
is the greeting as you enter Moo Grill. At a cheesy Mexican chain it would have me cringing and heading for the door, but here it’s sincere, authentic and with no hint of a corporate handbook. To be found between the City and Whitechapel, this Argentinine café bar specialises in tasty Lomito (a simple steak sandwich) and other quick Latin inspired snacks.
It’s become a regular stop, offering great value and genuinely friendly service. A simple Lomito (with lettuce and tomato) is served with homemade fries and soft drink for just £5.90. The steak is tender and best served with a liberal helping of chimichurri sauce.
Breakfast is yet untested but with the value of lunch its sure to be before long. So what are you waiting for Amigo’s?
I have eagerly awaited a visit to Mason & Taylor since hearing that the folks behind The Duke of Wellington were opening on Bethnal Green Road. The Duke in Dalston was at one time just around the corner and quickly became a firm favourite. It has it all. Great staff, great beer, great food. It is as you may have guessed Great.
I was willing Mason & Taylor to be on a par with the Duke as I don’t live around the corner from the latter anymore but I do work nearby Bethnal Green Road. A first attempted visit had been thwrated by their Christmas Party but undetered and in fact more eager I headed to Mason & Taylor the next day. I won’t leave you hanging. It is in fact also… Great. The décor is stripped back concrete and canteen chairs. It bucks the trend of filling the space with kitch which more often than not looks like an explosion in an Oxfam shop. The staff are, as with The Duke, efficient, friendly and knowledgeable. The food is small plates for sharing; a British tapas I suppose. The York ham with poached duck egg and parsley sauce and a rarebit were my particular favourites. As for the beer there is a wide choice with around 12 ales and beers on draught as well as a seasonal bottled list. I had my first pint of Brodies, Redemption and Wandle at The Duke and Mason & Taylor continue the trend with an introduction to the Camden Town Brewery and their American style, Camden Pale Ale and the helles style Camden Hells Lager. Judging by the empties which soon pile up you can say it went down well.
In my post on the Owl and the Pussycat I pondered if it would only ever be a fallback. On the form of Mason & Taylor I don’t see that a fallback would even be needed.