If you visit England for a holiday or for the Great British Beer Festival at London Olympia in August, here are a few pubs you might like to try in London and other cities:
Parsons Green, Fulham
London (0207 736 2115)
Only four tube stops from Olympia, with a wide range of carefully-chosen beers. An unmissable pub serving inspirational food and outstanding beers, dedicated to linking beers to food in the bar and a newly opened restaurant⎯dishes such as oyster ravioli accompanied by stout, vegetable tempura in organic beer batter, duck confit with garlic mash and lentils, or pigeon, venison and ale pie.
32 Burnaby Street, Chelsea
London (0207 351 4008)
Off the King’s Road near Chelsea Harbor, Young’s beers. One beer luminary I know says this is the best pub food in London⎯modern, eclectic cuisine from escabech of mullet with artichoke salad to sausage cakes with horseradish mash.
157 Hammersmith Road, near Olympia
London (0208 748 3446)
Fuller’s beers. One of Fuller’s real Thai food pubs; dishes from Pinky in a Basket (deep fried prawns in rice pastry) to seafood with lemongrass and Thai basil flamed in brandy.
Bruton Place, Mayfair
London (0207 409 1728)
Off Berkeley Square near Green Park Underground (subway) station. Young’s beers. Home of England’s most famous steak and kidney pie⎯thrice national winner, served in the bar and in a handsome restaurant famed for its Aberdeen Angus beef, Scottish smoked salmon and Rossmore oysters.
4 Park Street
Chester (01244 340345)
Next to old Roman city walls, which take about an hour to walk round and build an appetite. Victorian pub with genuine snug, dedicated to the Great War and full of period bric-a-brac, some dishes dating back a century, such as boiled gammon with parsley sauce, and huge “doorstep” sandwiches. (B&B in two en suite rooms)
Cambridge (01223 368337)
Greene King beers, unspoiled Victorian back street pub, entirely no smoking with traditional dishes such as Huntingdon fidget pie made with bacon and cider, ethnic dishes such as Persian lamb, and tempting vegetarian ones such as leek croustade.
75 Kingsgate Street, close to the cathedral
Winchester (01962 853834)
Award-winning pub with lots of linked bars, serving an imaginative menu that changes daily⎯for example, lentil, tomato and thyme soup; lamb and red currant casserole; and desserts such as prune and armagnac custard sauce.
6 Fishergate opposite city wall, backing on to River Ouse
York (01904 646046)
Contains oak paneling from former York Castle gatehouse; good range of beers. Giant helpings of fresh food, superb value for your money from roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with around six fresh vegetables for about $7.50 to the biggest fresh cod in batter I’ve ever eaten. (B&B)
Turks Head Yard off Briggate in city center pedestrian area
Leeds (0113 245 3950)
Theakston and Younger’s beers. Famous for solid traditional cooking served in bars and white-cloth restaurant. Examples: its famed roast beef with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, Yorkshire meat and potato pie, house specialty steaks and desserts like jam roly-poly with custard.
Susan Nowak is the editor of CAMRA's guide to Good Pub Food, now in its fifth edition, and author of The Beer Cook Book (Faber & Faber).
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