Sunday Roast: Garden Gate

What better way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon than in the pub for hours eating the most delicious Sunday lamb roast I’ve had since I moved to London, drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows and playing a hilarious game of Monopoly with good friends?

Here’s a thumbs-up recommendation for Garden Gate in Hampstead for letting us hang about all afternoon and for serving up some awesome food. When you’re with three born-and-bred Brits who are all raving about how tasty the roast is, you know you’re onto something good. (Mouth-wateringly good, to be precise.) They even have nut roast for the vegetarians out there. And if you don’t like Monopoly, there are plenty of other board games to keep you entertained until you’ve got enough room for blackberry and apple crumble dessert with custard on top.

Now you know where to find me for many Sundays to come….

PS – There is also a big, heated, outdoor beer garden.

Pub: The Garden Gate
Address: South End Road, London, NW3 2QE
Website: http://thegardengatehampstead.co.uk/
Food served: Noon – 10pm every day; till 9pm on Sundays

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

City streets and squares are alive on Thursday nights, bustling with suits, the sound of heavy laughter drifting from after-work crowds gathered outside of pubs, red busses and black cabs moving and stopping. Lights set a more subtle tone on harsh brick buildings, leave an intriguing invite at the entrance of twisting passageways, illuminate shop fronts displaying cigar cases and chilli chocolate fudge.

We walked down to the Blackfriar pub, full of art deco mosaics and low lighting. It is wedge-shaped and was built on the site of a medieval monastery. The night air was refreshing so we sat outside on a low wall drinking and catching up.

For dinner, we ate in the cellar restaurant of Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, a pub famous for its association with old writers and journalists including Dr. Johnson whose house is around the corner, the one who said, “If you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life.” We ate steak and ale pies and big plates of chips.

The pub was built many centuries ago, has low ceilings with dark wooden beams, quirky artwork. You could easily be many decades in the past and if they killed the small electric lights and left only candles, centuries. To enter, you walk up one of those intriguing little alleyways. You have a choice of narrow corridors and twisting, awkward staircases, sawdust swept across the floors.

It was a drinking haunt for the likes of Voltaire, Thackeray and Charles Dickens among others. According to their website, “One famous resident was a parrot whose mimicry entertained customers for 40 years, its death was announced on the BBC and obituaries appeared in newspapers all over the world.”

Gorgeous old place, steeped in history and somewhere I will definitely return.

145 Fleet St.City of LondonEC4A 2BU

Yes I Can!

Outside of The Island pub in Kensal Green last week, a little girl in a twirly blue dress was standing on her brother’s scooter. Her hair was white-blond and she wore glasses with thick, magnifying lenses. When her dad scolded her for being on the scooter, saying she couldn’t do it because she was only 3-years-old and too young, she retorted, “I can! Yes I can! I can do anything!” And off she went.
 
I smiled to myself as I walked past on my way home. With that sort of attitude, she will be able to do anything indeed.