Catford Bridge Tavern SE6 – new in 2017

It’s pleasing to see the redeveloped CBT doing well again under new ownership, since re-opening Easter 2017 with a new roof terrace, refurbed dining room and a good range of drinks from craft beers to “gincident” gins

The former Catford Bridge Tavern run by Antic, closed back in November 2013 (Tesco bought the lease, then sold it to Solitaire after community campaigns to save the pub), it then caught fire and stood empty for about two years. A disappointing saga.

With a happy ending?

Let’s take a look. Starting with skin-on chips that take some beating:

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Beer battered haddock + skin-on salted chips with tartar sauce

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Beer battered haddock: nice white ‘meaty’ fish

 

Food promos run on weekday evenings:

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Burger MondaysBurger + skin-on chips and a pint for £10.00 (the offer’s since changed to buy a burger, get a second for £1)

They’re good burgers. Every day of the week.

 

The menu changes fairly regularly, here’s a sample from April 2017:

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Sample menu 

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Sea bream @ £11.00

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Pano – cross-section restaurant and bar-side

 

Fancy a bar snack?

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Cumberland sausage rolls with mushroom ketchup – bar snack @ £4.00

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Craft beers

 

Saving the best ’til last, it’s got to be Sunday roasts:

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Sunday roast: pork belly + crackling @ £14.00

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Sunday roasts: pork belly with crackling (top @ £14) and topside of beef (bottom @ £14.75) with roast spuds and proper Yorkshire puddings

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Eton mess @ £4.00

Watch out for quirky events and themes, from music by a Granny DJ to “Gincidents” and dog shows.

Are you and your best friend ready for this Catford? #se6 #fortheloveofdogs #dogshow #pub #puppypower

A post shared by Catford Bridge Tavern (@catfordbridgetavern) on

The verdict: Catford has a great traditional-style pub again – good food, drinks, and service (bar and waiting staff are usually chatty and helpful) in a comfy, clean space that’s enjoyable to relax in.

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: Pub, British
– Address: Station Approach, Catford, London
– Postcode: SE6 4RE
– Nearest station: Catford Bridge, Catford
– Website + menus: Catford Bridge Tavern website
– Photos on flickr: images of Catford Bridge Tavern food
– Location: Catford Bridge Tavern map

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Red Lion – West Boldon, Tyne & Wear

Simple, no-fuss menu with gastro-pub style food

This Saturday lunch time booking at the Red Lion in West Boldon was a family get-together for a party of nine. We’d originally wanted to go to the Poetic License Bar (to enjoy the craft gins from the onsite gin distillery) but on booking we were warned to allow for delays (they warned of poor service, even though I was booking several weeks in advance). Having experienced terrible service already at Poetic License Bar, we decided not to risk it again and booked the Red Lion instead, as it’s more convenient for all the family anyway. Great decision.

You can eat bar meals in the main pub but on this visit, we were shown to a nicely laid out huge solid wood table with very high-backed (and heavy) wooden chairs in the main restaurant. It felt a little like walking onto a set for Game of Thrones, befitting a medieval banquet.

The menu is very plain and simple in its writing and design style. The intention may be to avoid being overly descriptive (and pompous) but it doesn’t capture just how exciting the food that is served here, really is. I was expecting traditional pub food to match the plain menu. Not so.

We’d started with a leisurely round of drinks in the pub while waiting for everyone to arrive, then ordered wine once seated at the dining table – a Navardia Rioja Bagordi @ £18.50 and a Pinot Grigio @ £13.95.

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Selection of dishes served at Red Lion
Starters (top right): prawn cocktail, Thai fishcake + chilli sauce, and (bottom left) goats cheese crostini all @£6.95 each
Mains: Ribeye Steak with grill garnish and  thick-cut chips @ £14.95 (main pic) and Thai red chicken curry with chips instead of rice @£10.95 (bottom right)

Starters range from £4.50 for soup of the day to £7.95 for king prawn skewers. I had goats cheese crostini with dressed mixed leaves @ £6.95, beautifully served with a balsamic glaze, while others had prawn cocktail (described as ‘classic prawn cocktail’ on the menu but beautifully served like this with leaves and balsamic glaze) @ £6.95, Thai fish cakes with chilli sauce also @ £6.95 and black pudding and chorizo salad @ £5.95.

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Starter: Black pudding and chorizo salad @ £5.95

Already very impressed (it’s a while since K and I ate here) we were suitably excited about the main courses. My fish and chips were gorgeous – really good, tasty fish with chunky chips; the mushy peas and homemade tartar sauce enhanced it perfectly.

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Red Lion burger – homemade burger with bacon + cheese  @£11.95

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Traditional fish and chips – mushy peas + homemade tartar sauce with capers @£11.95

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Oven roast salmon with a tomato Provencale sauce – and new boiled potatoes @£9.95

Check out the huge, wooden thrones we’re sitting on:

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Solid wood high-backed chairs

Some had desserts. While, ahem, others had more drinks. And a great pub lunch was had by all.

The verdict: Gastro-pub style food in a homely, friendly pub. Very good value – checkout the website for latest offers (as of Feb 2017 there’s a credit crunch lunch @£9.95 for two courses and a tea or coffee, served Monday to Saturday, 12-7pm).

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: British, pub
– Address: Redcar Terrace, West Boldon, South Tyneside
– Postcode: NE36 0PZ
– Tel: +44 191 536 4197
– Nearest station: East Boldon metro
– Website + menus: Red Lion website
– Photos of Red Lion: Red Lion pics on flickr
– Location: Red Lion map

Cleveland Tontine – country pub in North Yorkshire DL6

Quality dining in North Yorkshire countryside

Situated just off the A19 at Staddlebridge, on the border of the North York Moors national park, the Cleveland Tontine prides itself in being “something of an institution” with “open fires, an eclectic mix of furnishings and fabrics, outstanding service and fantastic food”.

Last weekend, K and I celebrated ‘early Christmas’ with our families as we’ll be away for the festive period this year. Part of the celebrations was a Christmas meal out with both sets of parents on Saturday afternoon. We chose the Cleveland Tontine for its convenient location between them, and because it looked appealing with a varied menu on the website.
Cleveland Tontine food
Food selection at the Cleveland Tontine – beef, venison, fish + chips, fish pie

In the lounge, with a view over the countryside, we began with a relaxing aperitif (there’s a great choice of drinks including a fancy gin cocktail menu on this occasion) and read the various menus. There’s a set menu reasonably priced @ £16.95 for two courses or £20.00 for three, or a la carte:

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A la carte menu – sample menu of 26 Nov 2016

This venue (it’s a hotel with accommodation as well as a pub and restaurant) was built in 1804 and was – for some time – a private residence called Ingleby House. It’s beautifully restored while maintaining some old charm. I was surprised that, at 2pm on a Saturday, the basement dining room with its quaint low ceilings, stone walls and beams was very quiet, although it got busier over the course of the afternoon.

We ordered a bottle of prosecco @ £24.95 to accompany our selection of starters from the a la carte menu:

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Goats cheese cannelloni – textures of cauliflower, candied walnuts + baby watercress (simply gorgeous) @ £7.95

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Poached pear, Harrogate blue cheese + candied pecans @ £6.95

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King scallops + black pudding with cauliflower puree, apple jelly + pancetta crumb @ £12.95

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Racing penguins – we brought Christmas crackers with us; they contained entertaining (and very cute) clockwork penguins to race

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Quaint old basement dining room

Given this was a Christmas dinner, it was pleasing to see a variety of uniquely crafted dishes and no turkey in sight (sorry traditionalists). The food tasted as good as it looks – I’ll let these main course photos do the talking:

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Fillet + shin of beef with truffle mash, Yorkshire carrots, braising juices @ £21.95

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Loin of venison, celeriac, red cabbage + hen of the woods (gorgeous mushrooms) with chocolate jus @ £26.95 (this was my choice and it was stunning)

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Beer battered fish and chips with crushed peas, tartare sauce @ £13.95

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Tontine fish pie with samphire, seasonal greens + Gruyere glaze @ £14.95

With the main course, we had a couple of bottles of winter-warming malbec bodega @ £34.95 a bottle.

Here’s what we ordered from the dessert menu:

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Tontine sweets and treats plate @ £12.95

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Full cheese board (five cheeses to share) with homemade fig jam, biscuits, walnut + raisin bread @ £10.95, along with a 10 year old tawny port @ £7.50

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The Cleveland Tontine set in North Yorkshire countryside at Staddlebridge, just off the A19

The verdict: Excellent food and really good service. We were a party of six having a family celebration and picked the Cleveland Tontine partly because of its convenient location. We were all really impressed with the gourmet food. There was a wide choice of both food dishes and drinks and not overly priced for such good quality. I’d eat here again – in fact, I’d happily stay here.

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: British, pub
– Address: Staddlebridge, Northallerton, North Yorkshire
– Postcode: DL6 3JB
– Website + menus: Cleveland Tontine website
– Photos on flickr: Cleveland Tontine photos
– Location: Cleveland Tontine map

The Cleveland Tontine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Wilmington – gastro pub Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell

It’s Monday morning. Still smiling and happy from a good weekend, what better way to extend that weekend feeling than with a pub lunch? 

Go on then.

OpenTable recently published a list of “London’s top 10 gastro pubs” based on diner reviews. One of them – The Wilmington – is just off Exmouth Market in the Farringdon/Clerkenwell area. It’s handy for work so I’d put it straight on LardButty’s “to try” list. And today seems like the day.

On arrival at 13:30 it’s pretty much dead, though it’s clear to see there’s a great range of craft beers on at the bar and that the pub is split into several segmented spaces for drinking or dining. We’re led to our reserved booth in a dining section by someone who seems happy to be at work.  He tells us about the specials with enthusiasm and generally makes us feel welcome and pleased to be here.

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At The Wilmington, off Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell

It’s an interesting, original menu that requires a proper read:

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We order:

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Orecchiette, peas, oyster mushrooms, romanesco and gremolata @ £11.50 

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Rosemary chips on the side @ £3.50

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Field mushrooms with garlic crumbs @ £3.50 – gorgeous

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Fritto misto – mixed seafood including king prawns, calamari, fish – with citrus aioli and crispy fennel @ £7.50

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Homely bar space with lots of craft beers on tap

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Appealing dining spaces  – wooden floors, solid wood furniture

The verdict: Excellent service, great quality gastro pub food (I’m left wanting to try more of the menu) and a variety of craft beers on offer.

More of the menu (re-visited):

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Starter portion of cod scampi with nduja aioli @ £8.00

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Seasonal salad – pickled pear, chicory, candied pecans, quinoa, blue murder, celery – main course portion @ £12.00

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Duck egg and wild mushrooms on sourdough @ £8.00 + roasted root veg @ £3.50

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Artichoke ravioli @ £7.50 with rosemary chips @ £3.50

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: pub, gastro-pub, British, international
– Address: 69 Rosebery Ave, London
– Postcode: EC1R 4RL
– Nearest station: Farringdon, Angel
– Website + menus: The Wilmington pub website
– Photos on flickr: The Wilmington pub images
– Location: The Wilmington pub map

The Wilmington Arms Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Poetic License Bar – Roker, Tyne and Wear

Poetic License Bar, in the Best Western Roker Hotel, is situated on the rugged North Sea coast at Roker.

It’s part of Tavistock Hospitality group so you’re guaranteed some very tasty, locally produced drinks –  craft beers from Sonnet 43 brewhouse and craft gins from Poetic License distillery.

 

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Poetic License Bar – ‘Distillery bar and soul food’

 

Having been for a walk along the rugged, exposed coast to Camels Island first, we’d worked up a thirst and an appetite.

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The Poetic License Bar is in the Best Western Roker Hotel . We passed the botanical garden on the way in, which looked really appealing with its chunky log wall.

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Botanical garden – nice log wall

 

These craft gins from Poetic License (the distillery is at the bar – handy!) are already winning awards, less than a year after launching: Old Tom Gin and Northern Dry Gin. They make a perfect gift for all the special gin lovers out there, no?

 

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Poetic License – perfect serves

 

At £3.75 a single or £5.75 a double, the three ‘perfect serves’ pictured above are:

left: Old Tom with Fevertree premium ginger ale, cinnamon and red apple – my favourite (nice and dry, I loved the flavours of ginger and cinnamon spice)

centre: Northern Dry with Fevertree premium Indian tonic water and pink grapefruit

right: Picnic gin strawberries and cream flavoured gin with a Fevertree elderflower tonic water and fresh strawberries (sounds sickly but it wasn’t)

 

Service was slow and a bit blasé. It took well over an hour for our food to arrive. But we were happy to keep trying out more gins…

 

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Blue cheese and walnut salad with grapes and chicory @ £9.95 – slightly sickly and creamy (just as it looks)

 

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New York style Reuben burger – 8oz beef burger with pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing @ £9.45

Also served with lettuce, tomato, mayo and dill pickle in a brioche bun with skin-on fries and house slaw. Good value for such a filling meal, and great quality beef burger.

 

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Look at the size of that – get your chops around this. If you can.

 

 

The verdict: Excellent range of drinks. Skip the salads and go straight for a burger. And check out the website for theme nights and promos.

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: Pub, British
– Address: Roker Hotel, Roker Terrace, Roker, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear
– Postcode: SR6 9ND
– Nearest metro stations: Stadium of Light, Seaburn
– Website + menus: Poetic License Bar website
– Photos on flickr: Poetic License Bar images
– Location: Poetic License Bar map

 

Rolling Stock Burgers – Haggerston

Huge beer garden – perfect for hot summer days

After a very weird interactive secret theatre experience at the King’s Head in E2 (some really-good-burlesque that turned into a not-at-all-good-zombie-apocalypse in a mucky-Hamleys-style pub full of dead animals; parodying From Dusk Til Dawn) L and I were ready to enjoy a drink, some food and the sunshine, late Saturday afternoon.

We hadn’t gone far along Kingsland Road before we came across Rolling Stock, set in arches next to railway lines. The inside space seems pretty cavernous with all the lovely old arches. Or maybe it seemed that way as it was empty due to the glorious weather. The few customers who were there, were outside enjoying the beer garden. And on the plus side, the Rio Olympics were on, on big screens, both inside and out.

 

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Huge beer garden

 

Bar staff were welcoming and jolly, but didn’t have a clue about the craft beers available, when asked. And at £4.80 a small can of beer, it wasn’t exactly good value. I guess that’s trendy Shoreditch for you but may explain why no one was here on a Saturday afternoon when other places nearby were heaving. No matter, I was glad of the peace and space.

 

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Burger with bacon – served in a seeded bun

 

L ordered a burger with bacon, while I had a rolling smoke burger @ £9.95 with lettuce and caramelised onions. They both included excellent skin-on chips.

 

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Let’s have a look inside…

 

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And see how pink the beef is in the middle – perfect, and the cheese is in the middle of the patty

 

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Empty inside on a hot Saturday afternoon – showing sports

 

 

The verdict: Great beer garden for hanging out on warm days. They describe themselves as an “arts destination” for local “creatives” (as is the whole Shoreditch area, surely?). It could be worth checking their website to see what’s on if you’re in the area. Great burgers and good bottled/canned beers.

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: Burgers, bar
– Address: 48 Kingsland Rd, Shoreditch, London
– Postcode: E2 8DN
– Nearest station: Hoxton, Shoreditch High Street
– Website + menus: Rolling Stock website
– Photos on flickr: Rolling Stock images
– Location: Rolling Stock Haggerston map

 

Kanchana’s Kitchen at the King’s Arms – Waterloo

Fresh Thai food served in back room of quaint old backstreet pub in SE1

H, K and I chose The King’s Arms pub to meet last Saturday night, for its proximity to Waterloo and because they serve rotating craft beers. Roosters was on, on our visit. So, home from home.

 

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Kanchana’s Kitchen at The King’s Arms

 

It was surprisingly quiet for a Saturday evening especially given they were showing the Euro 2016 football matches, on big screens. Pleasingly for us, we were able to get a table in the Thai restaurant, Kanchana’s Kitchen in the back room.

 

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Back dining room – when you try to photo-bomb but it kinda backfires and you end up in a blogpost…

 

We sampled a few real ales from the bar, and shared this mixed platter:

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Mixed starter platter: chicken satay, veg samosas, veggie spring rolls, Thai fish cakes, veggie tempura, butterfly prawns and prawn toast @ £6.95 pp (£20.85 for 3)

 

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Gaeng Kiew Wann – chicken green Thai curry @ £7.95 (in an extremely chipped bowl)

H and I both chose the chicken green Thai curry with steamed rice, made with basil, lime and bamboo. It tasted good so we overlooked the shabby crockery.

 

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Pad thai with prawns @ £8.50 – K’s choice

 

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Menu 01 – starters and curry dishes

 

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Menu 02 – stir fried dishes and house specials

 

 

The verdict: Convenient for Waterloo station, good Thai food, nice enough craft beers (though the choice was somewhat limited) on Roupell Street, an appealing quaint back street formed of old London terrace houses. It’s handy if it’s handy.

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: Thai
– Address: The Kings Arms, 25 Roupell Street, London
– Postcode: SE1 8TB
– Nearest station: Waterloo
– Website: The King’s Arms website
– Photos on flickr: images of RESTAURANT food
– Map: Kanchana’s Kitchen at The King’s Arms

 

King's Arms Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato