The line between gastropub, plain old pub and fancy restaurant has become very blurred lately. Attaching the ‘gastropub’ label onto an ordinary looking pub usually means an excuse to rack up the prices while luring in unassuming diners who were looking for some pub grub.
Well pub grub is certainly not what you’ll find at The Jugged Hare and despite the slightly haughty atmosphere and higher-than-average prices the food is well-presented and most importantly it tastes good.
This is the 10th in a line of gastropubs owned by Tom and Ed Martin and it’s clear to see they know what they’re doing. Walk in through the main entrance and you’ll be met by crowds of local workers enjoying the impressive drinks menu. It’s got its own ‘by the glass’ machine creating seasonal wines from local producers and if you’re indecisive, go for the wine flight – you get three glasses of seasonally picked out wines for £10. If wine’s not your thing try the Jugged Hare pale ale, brewed in conjunction with Sambrook’s brewery in Battersea.
If you’re peckish, or you’ve booked a table (recommended for most evenings), walk through the crowds towards the smell of meat and you’ll reach the restaurant area where an open kitchen takes centre stage. For those of you who enjoy watching cookery programs you’ve come to the right place. Here you can stare at the chefs to your heart’s content and watch them popping out intricate looking meals, but a warning – it’s no fun for fellow diners if you spend the meal commenting on events in the kitchen which they can’t see.
For people who find it hard to say no to a starter (like me) you won’t be disappointed and I went for the honey roast kiln salmon (£8) while my friend had the diver king scallops gratin (£9.50) with a creamy sauce to melt any fish-haters heart.
The food available is all local, organically sourced (fish from Billingsgate Market) and what you might expect really and there’s a different meat available everyday from the spit roast and some hefty steaks on offer. Most of the main meals are around £17 but you do pay for what you get and the meals are fresh, delicious and perfectly matched with the sides (although you have to pay extra for these).
Greedily I also tucked into a pudding and despite being a bit of a connoisseur in this sector, the lemon junket (light mouse) with blood orange jelly is one of the best fruity treats I’ve ever eaten – and an ideal way to end a heavy meal. It’s light, airy and sweet enough to make you feel light you’ve been transported to some kind of magical land but doesn’t leave you feeling like you need a root canal.
Downstairs there are more tables and it would be a good place for a group meal such as a birthday and once you’ve gorged on the meaty feast the bar is perfectly situated to finish off your night.
This review was originally written for Who’s Jack.