THE FOX & FOOTBALL
A couple of years ago the dining out world of Dos Hermanos imploded. The chef of the Sutton arms, the incomparable Rosie Sykes, left due to musical differences ( well you get the idea.) Small potatoes, I will grant in comparison to some other items in the news at that time, but as we had between us, been there over 100 times in the two years she cooked there, you can put it into context. Hell, when she left, she even presented us with the small dish she always kept to bring the mustard she knew we would always ask for. Ah, memories.
Since then, we have searched high and low ( within the limitations of my fear of going south of the river ) for a place with the same spirit.
Closest so far has been The Fox on Tabernacle st. It scores major points for being within walking distance from the flat and, while the service may not be at quite the same level, the cooking is right up there. It predicates itself on the use of seasonal ingredients and the cooking is always bang on point. The chef, Tricia, cooked at The Eagle, the first of the gastropubs and the owners used to run The French House in Soho
What's more, in value for money terms, it is hard to beat. Two courses for £15. Three for £19.50. The wine list is a weakness, however.
Tonight, we decided to have an early supper before the big match ( The Gunners Vs Real Madrid ) and headed down there for 6.30pm. The room is ever so slightly louche and dark, until they, prompted by our arrival, lit about a million candles. Welcome, but it did make it look like a video for a meatloaf track.
Lots of good choices on the menu. HP chose Razor clams which were meaty and served in a profoundly garlicky juice which he mopped up with more than ample amounts of bread. For me, cauliflower soup. I rarely order soup as it is rarely substantial enough. This, however, was a large earthenware dish of a velvety soup with a smooth texture and a depth of flavour that comes from a decent stock. Very good indeed.
Unsurprisingly, we both went for the Gloucester Old Spot with Greens. What came was a large chunk of slow braised pork shoulder with a good slab of crackling. Very Very enjoyable. The pork was just toothsome enough to take some effort but not dry or tough. The greens, crisp and crunchy.
I could not face pudding, but HP chose the blood orange cake with rhubarb. I had a tiny taste and the orange was certainly in full effect.
With a Coffee for HP and a disappointing bottle of De Loache 2004 Sonoma Pinot ( I think they should add the word "disappointing" by law to all US Pinot's south of Oregon, but hey ho. I search in vain. ) the bill came to a pretty good value £30 per head inc tip which was deserved.
I always tend to eat here when it is early and consequently quite empty. I am told it does fill up from time to time. I hope so, it deserves to.
I am never quite sure why I don't go here more often. I certainly should