As I type, it’s an absolutely filthy day outside – it’s cold, rain is pouring down, and the city is disappearing into a drab, drizzly mist. I love it.
Don’t get me wrong – if I had a ‘proper’ job where I had to commute, or even just go outside, it would be awful, but if you’re tucked away somewhere cosy, days like this are wonderful. And the very best way to make the most of a day like this, in my opinion, is to spend it in the pub. Another caveat – I’m not in the pub right now. It’s a Wednesday morning. But if it was a weekend, or a bit nearer to Christmas (when all the rules go out the window), that’s where I’d want to be.
Last weekend we finally got round to visiting a pub that’s been recommended to me by so many people, the King William: a little corner building with cheerful sky blue doors and windowsills, a snug downstairs bar and a rather elegant restaurant space upstairs, with crisp white tablecloths, beautifully mismatched silver and those comfy studded leather chairs you get in the best old pubs. We were there to try their famous roast lunch, and although I was keeping an open mind, I have to admit that I don’t normally trust roast dinners that aren’t homemade – I’ve had a lot of bad ones.
|Wild Mushroom Soup|
Thankfully, in this case, all my fears turned out to be unfounded – I was absolutely blown away by how good it was. The King William offers a set menu on Sundays, with two courses for £20 or three for £25, but we wanted to save room for the roast, so we shared a starter of mushroom soup which was gorgeously autumnal – rich and creamy, with a sprinkling of deep golden wild mushrooms on top, and fresh Bertinet bread to soak up every last drop.
|Glorious roast beef|
For the main event, I ordered roast chicken, while my dining companion went for roast beef. Our plates were piled gloriously high, with crispy roast potatoes spilling from the bowl of a huge Yorkshire pudding like an overflowing cornucopia (I don’t know if this was a deliberate move to stop them going soggy in the gravy, or just an artistic flourish, but either way I appreciated it – nothing worse than a roast potato that gets soggy before you get to eat it), and the roast meat was mouth-watering. The chicken was golden-skinned and juicy, while the beef was a deep, gorgeous ruby red and so tender you could have cut it with a spoon. The gravy was rich, dark and velvety, and the vegetables (let’s face it, normally the least interesting part) were delicious – slender heritage carrots speckled with fresh mint, a lovely touch that went beautifully with their natural sweetness, and a wonderful leek and cauliflower gratin with a silky cheese sauce and herby breadcrumbs on top. I washed my roast chicken down with a half of Iford’s medium cider, while my dining companion chose a similarly local Electric Bear Edison lager, and it was glorious. Honestly, I’m running out of adjectives – the whole thing was that good.
|Chocolate Cherry Mousse|
The portions were lavish, so we were struggling by the time the dessert menus came around, but everything had been so good we couldn’t resist trying a little something sweet, so we shared a chocolate cherry mousse, which came with a fabulously tart sorbet and little boozy cherries on top. Utterly stuffed, we walked home (very slowly – we only live ten minutes away so this could become a habit) and both crashed out for a fabulous post-feast nap.
Basically, chaps, you have to go and try this one – a lovely setting, great service, unbelievable food and brilliant value for money. We’ll definitely be back.