Pubs

Pub-Food

We Londoners can be so lazy. We have everything on our doorstep, especially if we live in zone one and there isn’t any real reason to travel beyond our comfort zone unless it’s for work or fun. I mean, we don’t have to get into a car to do our shopping and we don’t have to struggle with the notion of finding a decent restaurant within a ten mile radius. We are completely spoiled for choice and especially in Chelsea when it comes to pubs.

Last night I visited The Chelsea Ram for the very first time, which I am ashamed to say. After all, it is one of Chelsea’s legendary pubs and anyone who is truly ‘Chelsea’ would have visited it at one point in their lives. But no not me, I’ve been too lazy enjoying the buzz of the Chelsea Beach or venturing out towards Chelsea Green or the backstreets of Sydney Street.

But as I walked over to Geronimo Inns’s latest Chelsea venture, I realised that in fact The Chelsea Ram wasn’t that far from me. It was barely ten minutes away. And knowing that Geronimo Inns was also responsible for my other favourite pubs in the neighbourhood: The King’s Arms, The Builders Arms and The Phoenix – I was beyond excited to discover its revamp of The Chelsea Ram.

Stepping inside, I discovered a spacious pub that was filled with the mumbles of a very local crowd. The Chelsea Ram is off the beaten track so unless you know it’s here, it’s unlikely that you’ll stumble upon it. You might be lucky enough to do so if you were lost as you made your way to Lots Road or Chelsea Harbour.

I took these pics at the end of the evening, after people had left, because I try not to photo bomb poor souls who happen to step into the path of my blogging addiction. Doesn’t the revamp look lovely?

I especially loved this Tommy Cooper portrait.

The bf and I were seated towards the back of the pub under the skylight which I enjoyed. And as we looked at our menus, I looked around and people-watched. I noticed one of the staff greet a local by their first name and it was clear that the regulars in this pub were not strangers to each other. As people got up to leave, they stopped at the next table to exchange pleasantries whilst another regular dropped into the conversation. In fact, this pub didn’t feel like zone one London. It didn’t even feel like Chelsea. It just felt like what a real local should feel like and I loved it.

The highlight of my supper included the Skate special …

Which I had with fries …

And the Eaton Mess, which I justified devouring because I had been to a spin class earlier that evening. Oh, how the mind likes to play tricks on oneself. But it was so worth it!

I asked the bf what he enjoyed from last night and he pointed out his starter, which was mushrooms on toast with a poached duck egg and rocket on the side.

He also enjoyed his main which was a rib-eye steak with roasted bone marrow and mum’s chips which were large and really crispy.

Our meal was accompanied by a bottle of Malbec Gran Reserva which went down very well.

And I do have to point out that I’m a huge fan of Geronimo Inns’s wine glasses.

By the end of the evening, we were talking to the people at the next table and geeking out on places to eat locally whilst quizzing each other on our favourite restaurants. They were beyond lovely, just like the staff. And as we walked out of the pub, we were greeted by a local who ended up telling me how much she loved The Chelsea Ram.

To see so much affection for one venue was a touching end to a really lovely Monday night.

Chelsea Ram on Urbanspoon

OMG! What a match! Frustrating until the 83rd minute, disheartening until the 87th minute and thrilling from the 88th minute onwards, thanks to Drogba’s goal!

Then we went into extra time – followed by penalties, which made my heart race even more. But Petr Cech saved two goals and Bayern Munich’s goalie only saved one. And at that point, Chelsea became the Champions of Europe 2012!! Did you see Abramovich’s face??

I watched the game at The Hollywood Arms after doing a recce around the other local Chelsea pubs in the Chelsea Beach area. From 5.30pm onwards, they were already busy: The Kings Arms, The Goat And Boots and even The Sporting Page who had taken their benches out to make more room inside.

When we arrived at The Hollywood Arms, the tables were also either taken or reserved so I took a look upstairs.

The tables upstairs were also booked up but when we enquired, we heard that there was a booking cancellation and were given a table.

This is also where The Hollywood’s Sunday film screenings happen: a different film each week with free popcorn.

So with over an hour to go, we settled in and ordered some food and drinks with our Saturday papers in hand. Nice and chilled.

I had the mackerel salad.

And the bf had a burger.

And I started the evening sipping Vodka Sodas.

As the room started to fill up, we were told that there was a booking error with our seats and were offered a booth downstairs. At first my heart dropped because no-one likes being moved (especially when the seats were being given to fans of the opposing team, 😉 ) but I also knew that to get a booth downstairs when the pub was already so busy was also a great bit of luck. After all, we hadn’t booked in the first place.

So we moved downstairs, in time for the start of the match where the atmosphere was rocking as everyone watched the screens, gripped.

And after a dramatic game, Chelsea won!!

So it was time to celebrate (with jägerbombs of course!).

Yum!!

Unsurprisingly, we were the last ones out and as we left the pub I managed to grab a few pics of the venue. This pub is one of my locals and I love what they’ve done with the recent-ish refurb.

When we stepped out onto the streets, Chelsea fans had taken over. I could see a crowd heading for Valmont whilst cars with Chelsea flags beeped along the Fulham Road and fans waited at the bus top.

I heard that it was getting quite messy around Fulham Broadway but in Chelsea, the atmosphere was electrifying.

Well done to the boys in blue! I do hope Di Matteo is given a contract to sign this summer. Goodness knows, he deserves it!

So now the countdown to the Chelsea FC Victory parade begins! The parade is due to start at 4pm from Stamford Bridge’s West entrance. It will then head towards Hortensia Road and onto King’s Road. It will then make its way towards Eel Brook Common and after a short stop, it will head towards Parsons Green where it will end.

So who’s going to be there? Maybe see you later!

 

Hollywood Arms on Urbanspoon

Yesterday I popped into The Markham Inn for a drink, after being out of town for a couple of days.

It was a rare gorgeous Sunday afternoon and Chelsea (FC) were playing. Arriving back onto home turf, I headed straight for Chelsea’s Farmers Market – The Market Place is one of my fave local hangouts. But as expected, it was packed and there was a queue.

So I made a beeline for The Markham Inn with the intention of staying for just one drink: a Dirty Martini.

And this has got to be easily the best Dirty Martini I have had in Chelsea – hands down. Each sip was heaven in a glass: pure bliss. Not only had the barman taken my order with reassuring confidence (I love ordering my favourite drink, not having had to look at the menu and for the barman to say “I can do that”. – Believe me it doesn’t happen that often.)

But this Dirty Martini was divine, so of course I wanted another. And given what time it was, I felt the urge to grab an early supper too.

So we picked up our glasses and made our way round to the back of the bar and sat in the dining room area.

Along with my second martini …

I ordered fish and chips.

The batter was wonderfully crispy and the fish was firm but silky. The chips and pea purée were also very good.

Meanwhile, the bf enjoyed his burger with a beer.

The last time the bf had a burger, it fell apart in his hands. So the fact that this one didn’t and that it tasted “extremely good” with its sweet cured bacon and brioche bun was a bonus.

I skipped the dessert menu and opted for an Espresso Martini, which I ordered without the espresso gomme. I don’t like my martinis too sweet.

All in all, I had a gorgeous Sunday supper as locals filled the front part of the bar. This was the perfect way to end the weekend.

The Markham Inn on Urbanspoon

Last Friday, I dropped by The Admiral Codrington to meet with its chef Fred Smith and to finally taste his popular burger. It was lunchtime and the pub was already filling up.

For starters, I ordered the chilli squid. I had only meant to try a few as a taster but the flavours were so unexpectedly enticing, I managed to polish the who bowl off. I truly recommend this dish.

For main, of course, I had to try the burger this time.

I will elaborate on this delicious choice later when I tell you about my meeting with its creator.

The burger came with fries and for dessert, I gave into temptation to taste the rhubarb crumble, which was indeed a great dish.

And the whole meal was washed down with some still water and a glass of obligatory bubbles!

The Admiral Codrington isn’t just about the burger as you can see from my initial post on the pub’s restaurant (here). But with such a buzz about the Ad Cod burger, I decided to focus my Q&A with Fred Smith on the local’s meaty favourite.

 

CG: Your Twitter bio states your journey for a perfect burger. When did that begin?

FS: About 18 months ago when I was in Manhattan. I was inspired by the quality of burgers over there. It then took about six to eight months of experimenting: getting the right flavours and combination of ingredients.

 

CG: Outside London, where is your favourite place to go for a burger?

FS: The Shake Shack in the US and Minetta Tavern in Greenwich Village, NYC.

 

CG: Where did your journey as a chef begin?

FS: When I was 18, I started working at Ransome’s Dick restaurant in Battersea. I also worked for Stephen Terry at The Walnut Tree in Wales, who incidentally once ran this place too. After some time in Australia, I worked at the Brown Dog in Barnes, later moving to the Duke of Wellington in Marylebone and I’ve been here at The Admiral Codrington now for two and a half years.

 

CG: So essentially, you’re a bit of a London Boy?

FS: I grew up in Clapham and spent a lot of time hanging out on the King’s Road, going to Peter Jones and spending time in Chelsea with my friends.

 

CG: Where are your favourite places to go in Chelsea?

FS: The Botanist, Foxtrot Oscar, Medlar, Barts and Tom’s Kitchen.

 

CG: What is your favourite cocktail?

FS: A Manhattan, which I once had at 21 Club in New York – where the drink was invented. I also like an Old Fashioned and a good G&T.

 

CG: Now, your burger. There was an infusion of smokey flavours. Did you put anything into the meat?

FS: That would be the bacon but no, I didn’t mix the bacon into the patty. I don’t like it when a burger has a slice of crispy bacon on top of the patty so when you bite into the burger, it falls out. I grilled the bacon between the patty and the cheese so it becomes part of the burger.

 

CG: It was so good and all the way through, I was trying to figure out where the flavours were coming from. (*Just to add, the burger has a real depth of flavour, so complicated yet so simple. I loved it!*) … So what about the rest of the burger?

FS: The bun is a brioche bun but not a typical brioche – not overly sweet. It’s more to reflect the American styled bun which has a bit of sugar in it. The caramalised onion creates a bit of an onion chutney. There is also shredded iceberg lettuce, mustard and pickles with cheese and of course the bacon and patty.

The construction of the burger is also important: you must be able to pick it up.

 

CG: And so your final word on the perfect burger?

FS: Keep it simple.

 

I just want to say thanks Fred for taking time out to meet me and for a great lunch. I’ll definitely be back!

The Admiral Codrington is located on 17 Mossop Street, London, SW3 2LY. www.theadmiralcodrington.co.uk

Admiral Codrington on Urbanspoon

Last Thursday saw the first Chelsea tweet up take place at The Cadogan Arms. The night started off with champagne cocktails as we anticipated the delicious looking menu for the evening.

For starter, I had the pickled Devon crab, blood orange, fennel and citrus vinaigrette, which I enjoyed thoroughly. And for main, I tried a gluten free Venison (no Wellington), which was accompanied by potato gratin and red wine jus. For sides: red cabbage, honey roast parsnips and mixed leaf salad arrived on the table – although I refrained from venturing onto the sides. Given that we are still in January, I was attempting to practise some level of restraint. But all self-control was quickly diminished by the time dessert arrived: white chocolate parfait and raspberry compote. Praline crisps also accompanied the non-gluten free dishes.

I devoured the rich dessert as if chocolate were the source of life in an Arabian dessert. It was a pure melt in your mouth sensation and I savoured every moment of this experience – like I said, it is January.

The wine chosen for each course were also very well selected and by the time our digestifs arrived in the form of either Espresso Martinis or brandy, I was ready for a game of pool upstairs. Given the number of years I have visited The Cadogan Arms, it really is a wonder why I hadn’t even stepped into the billiards room before then. And what larks were had!

The night was a real hit, even if my pool skills weren’t. The food and wine provided a great feast and as for the Espresso Martinis, surprisingly spot on. Last Thursday night made me realise that whilst life is full of many wonders, even regular haunts on the King’s Road like to keep us locals on our toes.

 

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