The bad things about gastro-pubs is that they tend to end up being much more about the gastro than the pub. That’s not so with the North Laine sister of the Hop Poles, the place is very much still a boozer at heart. That said, like the Poles, the ambitious menu changes here every day and travels from lambs’ hearts to bangers and mash while remain purely local (and free range) in its produce selection.
Buffalo chicken wings (£4.75) doesn’t sound the most exciting way to start a meal but we tuck into the large plate of sticky poultry to be rewarded with a powerful kick that really sets the tastebuds going. We need the salad and sour cream to calm things down. The self-proclaimed “amazing Greek bake topped with feta” (£7.50) doesn’t seem to match the description in the menu (we taste coriander or cumin rather than basil and rosemary) but is full of goodness all the same. The real surprise though is the venison hash cake (£7.95), arriving like a giant fishcake in a pool of green veg and rich gravy. The meaty innards have little in common with the average hash cake. The fried egg on top freaks us out a little to start with but egg yolk avoids gravy and we’re happy. The strawberry cream chocolate cake on hazel and ginger nut base (£4) is closer to a stiff mousse and quite simply one of the best cakes we’ve had.
Big portions, loads of flavours, nice unpretentious environment – what’s not to like? We even sat outside in the sun on a busy Saturday. Better than shopping.
WERE WE SUSSED?
Well, we inadvertently went in loaded up with SOURCE mags, put the SOURCE credit card behind the bar for the tab, chatted with the manager about cameras: not very stealthy to be honest. But when we left we mentioned that we were doing a Secret Eater review quite badly and everyone claimed to have no idea. So, yeah, we sort of got away with it strangely.
SOURCE pay for its own food and reviews without warning to remain independent
Gloucester Rd (01273) 607765