I have been enjoying sour beer for a few years now and I’m starting to understand different types of brewing and tastes.
The traditional Belgian sours are aged and fermented over months or years, where as newer souring techniques have been developed around the world for a quicker process to develop the sour taste.
I did a comparison of a traditional and modern sour:
Name: Geuze Boon, Lembeek, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij F. Boon
Type: Lambic – Gueuze
Name: Too Much Excitement
Brewery: Double Barrelled X Elusive Brewing, Yuzu Sour Pale Ale, Reading, England
Type: Wild Ale
I really like the modern “fast” sour beers, but the Lambic wins hands down with a complex depth of flavours and a tasty sour riddled throughout. The Yuzu SPA didn’t do much for me, I don’t like sour beers with too much of a *beer* flavour.
The coast along south-eastern tip of England is one of my favourite places to be, crisp salty wind, pebble beaches and pockets of fishing towns.
I discovered a quiet strip of the coast along the estuary of the River Swale, a trail path that meanders along the beach, behind beach huts and stretches as far as the eye can see. The walk starts next to The Sportsman, an unassuming pub by the sea.
The Sportsman is a Shepherd Neame pub that was awarded a Michelin Star in 2008. Philip and Stephen Harris took over The Sportsman in 1999 to serve good quality food in relaxed surroundings.
The Telegraph named them as the top gastropub in Great Britain and it was this very article that prompted me to call and make a booking. That was back in March 2016, it wasn’t until June 2016 that I was able to visit due to the high demand of their Tasting Menu. When the day finally came around I made my way down to Whitstable to enjoy a stroll along the harbour, a tasty seafood lunch, a beer in the sun and a walk around Reculver before heading over to The Sportsman where I was greeted by a charming pub with endearing staff.
I had booked the Tasting Menu, you can also enjoy a smaller tasting menu or choose dishes from their daily menu. I enjoyed the fact that each course was a surprise as it came out. Here’s a look at what I had that day:
The Tasting Menu was £65 per person (in 2016) for ten delicious courses, lasting for the duration of 3.5-4 hours. The coffee pictured above was not included in the price, but it was necessary for the drive back home!
Watch this short film to see how chef Stephen Harris creates his signature Slip Sole.
I have returned to The Sportsman twice since this visit, and have experienced a few variations on the menu. Including:
There is one starter (lettuce-and-walnut salad), there is one main course (steak-frites), dessert is optional and the house red wine is essential. Welcome to L’Entrecôte, one of my all-time favourite meals.
L’Entrecôte is the collective name of a group of restaurants that were created by the Gineste de Saurs family. There are three groups of restaurants, each with the same concept but their own variation of the unique butter sauce that accompanies the steak.
I’ll refer you to the Wikipedia page for the full history of the L’Entrecôte dynasty and restaurants.
Le Relais de Venise in London
In London there are three branches, and I’d recommend visiting Le Relais de Venise at Throgmorton Street in The City. I’ve also visited those in Marylebone (long queues) and Soho (poor service) and find Throgmorton Street’s branch relatively easy to get a table on short notice and the service is always excellent.
L’Entrecôte in Bordeaux
The restaurant spans 3 floors, each decorated differently but in keeping with their brand. Be sure to have a peek in the the kitchen (visible as you go up to the second floor) and arrive early to avoid the fast moving, if very long queue.
Le Relais de L’Entercôte: to be explored…
Thoughts and images are my own. Quotations are from the respective restaurant websites.✌🏻 KF
It’s pouring with rain, you’re in central London and you’re craving a meal that will warm you up from the inside out. In the good old days you could take yourself to Tottenham Court Road, through the bustling streets to a quiet road behind the busy underground station and find a table at whichever of the Korean restaurants could fit you in. These days it’s harder to come by, since Crossrail closed all of the Korean restaurants on Giles High Street.
I was sad when I saw the closure and tried other restaurants that had relocated or that were new, but none of them seemed to provide the same experience or quality of food. However, all was not lost and GoGo Pocha reopened (from Giles High Street) in Waterloo. It was a little hit and miss to begin with, but now I find myself going back repeatedly and the experience is how I remember it.
I specifically go to GoGo Pocha for Bibimbap with a side of Kimchi. If there’s more than one person at the table then a Seafood Pancake too.
There is no website, like some of the best little known restaurants, but you can find all the details you need through your favourite search engine.
Whilst on the subject of Korean food in London:
There are three meals that I love at a Korean restaurant: Bibimbap, Hot Pot and Korean BBQ.
I recommend the Kimchi Hot Pot at Asadal in Holborn.
For those with a car, or a desire to find more Korean Food (and supermarkets), you should head to New Malden. I’m told the restaurants are excellent, but for specifics I can refer you to a friend with experience.
Sparrow is a restaurant in Lewisham that first caught my eye on Instagram. The food looked delicate, complex in flavour and the location interested me greatly. The venue is unassuming, basic, with an open kitchen area that is surprisingly quiet. I was surprised that a restaurant with seemingly good quality food would appear in the heart of Lewisham; an area that is always busy, with ever-growing apartment blocks, yet it has a high street that never seems to change.
The restaurant describes the menu as seasonal, and a sample menu is available on their website. I noticed a few repetitions from the sample menu and the menu I saw on the day I dined, which leads me to believe they have a few core dishes that may slightly alter depending on availability of ingredients.
On your first visit you will be advised that the menu is designed to be explored, and shared. They recommend that you order 2-3 dishes per person, we shared 4 dishes between 2 people. Here’s a look at the menu provided on the day.
I enjoyed the salmon, with the side of focaccia. The lemon zest on the smoked salmon was a bold and delicious touch, am I used to dressing it with lemon juice and this is something I would try at home.
The fennel salad was light and tasty, I particularly liked the very small capers. Previously I have chopped capers to make them suit a dish I made, however I will look for these from now on.
The massaman curry was my favourite dish, it was actually the dish I planned to have before I knew it was a tasting menu. The beef cheeks were soft, light and extremely tender. The curry sauce was a medley of so many flavours, with crisp curry leaves, sweet small shallots, slices of gingers, lotus and lemongrass.
I’ve enjoyed a similar meal at The Sportsman in Seasalter, Cornerstone in Hackney and I’m delighted that this is on my doorstep.
Cornerstone @ Hackney Wick, is a restaurant by Chef Tom Brown, previously Head Chef of Michelin starred seafood restaurant Outlaw, at The Capitol Hotel in Knightsbridge.
Grab a beer at Beer Merchants Tap before heading over to the restaurant, it’s a one minute walk away.
You are encouraged to enjoy a few dishes, and a Tasting Menu (all items with an * for £45). We opted for the Tasting Menu, in order to try a few dishes, and added the sourdough – because I love bread, and I especially like sourdough.
The Tasting Menu:
Menu and pricing as of May 2018. Images are my own. ✌ KF