Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Sheer Delight of the Gastro Pub

I left work early on Friday for some light release. It was 90 degrees in New York and humidity seemed close to 95%. I needed a cold beer, good company, good food, and a good dose of informality. So it was down to The Spotted Pig. The Pig is a great gastro pub opened by English expatriate, April Bloomfield, and is the spearhead of British style gastro pubs in New York. There are no reservations and only one room with its windows opened to the street. It’s in the Meat Packing District so there is lots of hustle and bustle. I can tell you that the Ricotta Gnudi is the best you can taste outside Italy, and I had faggots (the waitress was careful to call them bangers so as to avoid politically incorrect dramas in the US). I haven’t had faggots for about a decade, and boy were they the real thing. The chicken livers on toast with a cold, local Pilsner also hit the spot. High quality, beautifully prepared, non-pretentious pub grub. Heaven.

The experience reminded me of The Drunken Duck, which is a similar approach in vastly difference circumstances. It’s a pub near my place in Grasmere, and again, serves exquisite pub food with great local beers. It also has an unpretentious wine list with some pretty good French Bordeaux hidden amongst the new world stuff. My eldest daughter Nikki was there on Sunday night giving it a whirl. Her report? The Morecambe Bay Shrimps with Jalapeno and spices are a must, along with the locally baked Granary Bread. If you are up that way you should also go The Punch Bowl in the Lythe Valley. Another great experience.


Susan956 said...

Grasmere sounds divine. The Lake district must be breathtaking. I imagine that there must be some parallels between there and spots in NZ.

Chicken livers..errrr *grimace* BUT I really enjoy a good ploughmans with great home made pickles and crusty bread and lovely cheese.

One thing I've not seen for years on a menu is Spotted Dick. Perhaps that is considered a name to be avoided also. :)

Piotr Jakubowski said...

I was walking by The Spotted Pig a few weeks ago and found it a very cozy looking place. I found it odd that there were so many references to pigs hanging around. From the video you've posted, the menu looks divine.

My foray into pub food began officially in London in March at a place called The Phoenix off Oxford Circus. The cold lager complemented their Shepherd's Pie very well. Needless to say, I was so satisfied that I ate 2 out of my 5 dinners at that place.

Chicken livers? Maybe there will be someplace and some time for me to try those! Never hurts to try.

Susan956 said...

Piotr.. Spotted Pigs Might Fly? *grin*

Aren't some of the names of British Pubs great..I'm sure there's a Spotted Goose and a Spotted Duck and a Dappled Clydesdale out there somewhere :) Shepherd's pie. Yum. Chicken livers, even masked via pate, no thanks. I am not into offal and I *have* tried.

CONSUL said...

Both The Drunken Duck and The Punch Bowl look quite isolated places.

I had a look at the Menu, though it`s 7 o`clock in the morning here, I wouldn`t mind stepping into any of both restaurants and order a "Herb crusted rack of lamb with a cassoulet of summer beans and rosemary right away.."

I`m wondering, what kind of clients are frequenting these places? Neighbour residents? Tourists? Businessmen?

Susan and Piotr: chicken liver deep brown outside and medium rare inside ("micuit") with black pepper and sweet porto wine sauce on top is really a must!

And if it can be duck`s liver instead, the better!

Susan956 said...

Consul.. I actually gulped. I like meat almost charcoaled :) I don't eat meat a lot but medium rare offal...egad.. I doubt even the carrot of a Cartier bracelet would induce me. I DO understand why the recipe you outlined is attractive but.. Heh :)

the paper bicycle; Peter Scarks said...

Food is the one thing we (all 6.4 billion of us) have in common. It is the one place where we can all say that we have something to teach and something to learn. Food is where creativity is most tangible. Places like The Spotted Pig gave us the wonderful idea of food first in a pub. It is a leader in the reviolution that even my (formerly) dodgy local is embracing: people like pubs. The idea of the free house or the public house means comfort and warmth have to be on offer as well as socialisation. Food does just that.

As for calf's liver: try it with pine nuts and balsamic vinegar. In my city there is a butcher that will get you the freshly killed piece if you pay in advance.

Susan956 said...

People desire, I would contend, the village square. I spoke to this many articles ago here and why they seek it. My ultimate take is that many these days want the dynamism between the square and the metropolis - both of which you can achieve, to an extent, in either place with good design and with technology.

I like pine nuts, I like balsamic; I think it reasonable to say yes..and no :)

I can envisage this KRConnect get together and everyone pressing me to eat liver. It won't happen.

Kevin Roberts said...

You know, it feels like this conversation could be in a pub.

Susan956 said...

Yes LOL. Your shout or...yours? :-)

Piotr Jakubowski said...

let's find a neutral location...

Susan956 said...

Piotr... Sydney is nice this time of year. You guys fly over. I've often wondered why they call certain trips a 'junket'. To me that is a gentle pudding especially useful for convalescence. Anyway, we could hold an umbrella making workshop and a 'travelogue' workshop and 'stuff' over a nice bottle or glass or three :) (I actually enjoy mineral water a lot mind you).