Cow + Pig Bromley – best Sunday roasts

How often does a Sunday roast really satisfy your desires? A really great roast takes time and effort to prepare. It’s tricky to get everything ready to serve at the same time – making sure the Yorkshire puddings are perfectly risen with a crispy shell that’s soft in the middle; that you got the best cut of beef and it’s pink and not over-cooked; that the roast spuds are crispy and not under-cooked, and that the veg is neither mush nor too raw.

All too often I’m disappointed with Sunday roasts served in pubs and restaurants that don’t live up to my expectations (nostalgic memories of mum’s perfect roasts, perhaps through rose-tinted glasses…) particularly if the cuts of meat used aren’t the best.

So for me, the thought of a good old Sunday roast is often better than what you get.

Our first visit to Cow + Pig was for Sunday lunch (well, all Sunday afternoon as it turned out) a few weeks ago. As the name implies, Cow + Pig specialises in meaty dishes and there are a lot to choose from.

We were warmly greeted and seated, and started with these cocktails (white lady @ £7 and whisky sour @ £8 from the cocktail menu here) while reading the wine list and menus:
– starters and grill menus
Sunday lunch
grazing lunch and dirty dogs
the rest, salads and sides
pudding and dessert wine
after-dinner drinks menu

For starters, we shared cheese + onion doughnuts @ £3.50 (six cave-matured cheddar and onion doughnut-shaped puffs with garlic mayo – so tasty, and lighter than you might expect) and gin salmon @ £7.50 (oak-smoked gin-cured salmon, pickled cucumber and brown bread – really good but surprisingly not as exciting as the cheese and onion doughuts).

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Cheddar and onion puffs – starter @ £3.50

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Oak-smoked, gin cured salmon – starter @ £7.50

At Cow + Pig every Sunday boasts the best roast.
This bold statement appears on the Sunday lunch menu, along with “all our meats are hand-picked, locally sourced and served with lovingly made week long gravy, Covent Garden vegetables, roasted potatoes and Yorkies your nan will be proud of.”

Can you resist?

It’s a thoughtfully crafted menu that is beautifully branded, lets you know that meats and produce are carefully and locally selected, and appeals to the reader’s desire for perfect food with direct questions such as: “why not try the best you can possibly get – a roasted 500g fillet steak served with all the trimmings @ £60 to share between two”.

Why not indeed? We could think of no good reason not to try the best you can possibly get. It was K’s birthday after all.

And so we ordered rare fillet steak (perfectly pink, melt in your mouth beef) with Yorkshire puddings (exceptional Yorkies, on a par with Plum + Spilt Milk or  Crocker’s Folly), mixed roast veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, parsnips, squash), crispy roast potatoes with rosemary, cauliflower cheese and gravy (gorgeous).

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Sunday fillet steak for two – roast dinner @ £30 a head

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Fillet steak with gravy

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Cauliflower cheese

To accompany ‘the best’ Sunday lunch option, we chose – as a birthday treat – a bottle of Rioja Roda I Reserva @ £75.00.

This was all very pleasing, filling and relaxing. We were served by a few different people, most of whom were outstandingly helpful, friendly and chatty and came across as knowing the menus (both food and drink) inside out, and happy (proud, even) to be working here. Good.

The restaurant design is appealing, from the clean, simple Cow + Pig logo and clearly laid out menus, to the playful pictures and cow and pig themed furnishings (cow skin chairs and wooden pig decorations). Tables are arranged spaciously and with some privacy making it a comfortable place to eat leisurely and while away a few hours (we arrived slightly early for our 1pm reservation and didn’t leave until after 4.30pm).

Cow + Pig playful pictures
Branding and humour

We attempted a sharing platter of cheese and biscuits with tasty chutney. Cheeses included: Ellie’s goats cheese from Kent, Lord London from East Sussex, Mayfield Swiss style cheese from East Sussex, Winterdale shaw cheddar from Sevenoaks, Kentish blue (gorgeous), Lancashire bomb and Baron brie from Suffolk.

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Cheese and biscuits with chutney @ £12.00 to share

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Cheese selection – includes Baron brie, Kentish blue, Winterdale shaw cheddar

Cow + Pig birthday cake and cognac
‘Happy birthday’ and cognac

I’d brought some birthday cake and candles (see the LardButty homemade recipe for apple and cinnamon cake) which I’d slipped to our waitress earlier. She brought the lit cake out, and got a rendition of Happy birthday going. Others joined in. It seemed like nothing was too much trouble.

To prolong this enjoyable afternoon a bit more, we ordered Remy Martin XO cognacs @ £12 each and coffees. A birthday afternoon well spent.

When the bill arrived, something was missing. We questioned that we hadn’t been charged for something we’d had. Maybe I shouldn’t advertise this but it was such a nice gesture: we’d been given some complimentary drinks by way of a birthday treat and a thankyou. How nice, and unexpected, was that?

This is somewhere to come for a celebration and be assured you’re in safe hands, for a reliably good meal.

It’s also a great place to come even if you’re not celebrating and splashing out. For food of this high quality, it’s reasonably priced.


We were back just over a week later. On this mid-week evening visit, I had a Gentle Ocean Breeze alcohol-free cocktail @ £2.50 (absolutely gorgeous with cucumber and elderflower and other mystery ingredients left to the barman’s creativity).

We ordered these starters: cheese and onion doughnuts (K enjoyed them so much last time, he couldn’t venture to try anything different; and you get six rings for £3.50) and salt and peppered calamari @ £7.50 (again, a big portion).

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Salt + peppered calamari rings with garlic mayo @ £7.00

We shared a bottle of Les Puits Neuf Chateauneuf-du-Pape @ £35.00 (note that there’s a good choice of wines, starting from £14.00 a bottle) and, for main course, both had the Cow + Pig plate of meat – a hugely filling plate of seven meats, chips and slaw @ £18.00 a plate (if I have this again, I’ll skip the starter).

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Cow + Pig plate of meat – with chips and slaw @ £18.00
L-R (ish): Pork belly with crackling, black pudding, burnt ends, Orchard sausage, steak, lamb chop, beef in tomato ragu

We added half a grilled lobster with garlic butter @ £15, making it surf n turf and shared this.

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Half a grilled lobster @ £15.00

On this visit, we had a window seat under a canopy of twigs and leaves:

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Interior – bringing the outside in

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The cow theme extends to the furnishings

The verdict: Best Sunday roast I’ve had in a long time. Extensive menus with an interesting twist. Great service and reasonably priced. If you like great quality meat and are handy for Bromley, give this restaurant a try. It’s one of those rare occasions where a restaurant scores five out of five in the LardButty index.

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 5 / 5
– Type: British, steakhouse
– Address: 39 East St, Bromley
– Postcode: BR1 1QQ
– Tel: 020 8464 8877
– Nearest station: Bromley North
– Website + menus: Cow + Pig website
– Photos on flickr: Cow + Pig photos
– Location: Cow + Pig map

Cow & Pig Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Smith + Wollensky London – The Strand WC2

Smith & Wollensky opens first branch of restaurant chain outside USA – in London

 

Smith & Wollensky has opened on John Adam Street, just off The Strand in central London. Having enjoyed their steaks in New York, we were keen to give this new UK branch a try. My birthday was approaching and it just happened to coincide with an OpenTable promotion: prosecco, tomahawk steak, lobster and sides @ £35.00 per person.

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Cocktails at the bar

 

Arriving early, we had a leisurely cocktail at the bar. Service was attentive and my margarita @ £14.00 was made to my taste: not blended to slush with ice, and with a salt glass rim rather than sugar. K had an Old Fashioned @ £13.00. All good.

We were taken through the sumptuously decorated restaurant and downstairs to our table in the basement restaurant, where there was a business function going on in the bar area – busy with mostly male groomed suits and – we counted – two females.

 

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Basement restaurant

 

Perhaps foolishly – given we had a mountain of main course food coming – we ordered starters: crispy squid @ £9.00 and crab cake @ £18.00 (to accompany a glass of Prosecco each). The crab cake was particularly good.

 

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Signature jumbo lump crab cake

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Crispy salt + pepper squid with mango chilli sauce

 

 

For the main course – a sharing platter of 1kg of tomahawk steak and a whole lobster tail – we chose wild mushrooms and carrots as our two sides, all at £35.00 pp. Along with some French fries @ £4.00, and a bottle of Malbec @ £42.00. The steak was rare and tender in the middle and nicely charred on the outside. The lobster was served simply, with butter.

 

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This wasn’t a cut of steak I was familiar with but I’d have it again. Unsurprisingly, after sharing 1kg of meat, we were absolutely stuffed and thought we’d eaten all the best bits. Our waiter tried to tell us that the remaining burnt bits close to the bone were also good (a bit like burnt ends?) and somehow managed to cut off a load more. He was right, it was good. But we were defeated. Too full to even consider a doggy bag.

The verdict: Excellent cocktails and steak in a classy, elegant space (the footman on the door is a good indication of the level of style – bordering on stuffy). A whole host of serving staff looked after us during our meal – some better than others, and were quite full on (a continuous stream checking if everything was ok. It still was…). Somewhere to go for a special occasion when you’re after a bit of pomp.

 

 

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: Steakhouse, American
– Address: The Adelphi Building 1-11 John Adam Street, London
– Postcode: WC2N 6HT
– Nearest station: Charing Cross
– Website + menus: Smith & Wollensky website
– Photos on flickr: Smith & Wollensky pics
– Location: Smith & Wollensky map

Smith & Wollensky Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Red Dog Saloon – Hoxton

K’s only request for his birthday meal out was that he wanted to be taken to a barbecue/smokehouse kind of place. And somewhere new to us (so, not old fave Bodeans).

Given it was a Friday night and we didn’t want to queue (some of those places don’t take reservations), I selected Red Dog Saloon on Hoxton Square after doing a bit of research.


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Carnivore platter – before…


By the time I arrived for our 7pm booking (the restaurant was full) K had already read the menu and fancied the carnivore platter to share @ £22.50 each. So that’s what we ordered, along with Camden IPA @ £5.00 a pint and a bottle of Good Hope Chenin Blanc @ £19.50.

The platter comprised these slow-cooked, sticky blackened meats:
~ brisket
~ pulled pork
~ sausages
~ chicken
~ sticky ribs
Plus four sides to share: we chose BBQ beans, ice-berg wedges with blue cheese sauce, mac cheese + collard greens.

All of these meats were gorgeous but the pulled pork and brisket both stood out as specialities (probably down to the fact that pulled pork is smoked for 16 hours and brisket for 12, both just fall apart and melt in your mouth).


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Carnivore platter – after


This was a serious plateful for two and – as we were ready to pop – we left some brisket and chicken (declining a helpfully offered doggy bag). Service was great – speedy, friendly, and our servers were on the ball. We’d definitely go back, and would have the same platter again.

There’s also a branch of Red Dog in Clapham, South West London.

 

Update Oct 2016:

 

Red Dog South at Clapham North, visited 2 Oct 2016:

 

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Kansas BBQ at Clapham North

 

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Red Dog menu – as of October 2016

 

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Wing sampler – 12 wings @ £14.50 with three sauces, we chose original buffalo (spicy hot), maple + bacon (interesting, a bit sweet, wouldn’t have again), teriyaki with spring onion + coriander (gorgeous)

 
 
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Carnivore platter @ £22.95 a head: a selection of slow cooked meats including smoked brisket, pulled pork, jerk chicken, sticky ribs, beef short rib, sausage along with three sides (we chose wedge salad, mac n cheese, sweet potato fries)

  

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5 – based on the Shoreditch and Clapham branches
– Type: American, barbecue, smokehouse
– Address: 37 Hoxton Square, London
– Postcode: N1 6NN
– Nearest station: Old Street tube, Shoreditch (Overground)
– Website + menus: Red Dog Saloon website
– Photos on flickr: pics at Red Dog Saloon
– Location: Red Dog Saloon map

  

Red Dog Saloon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato