Friday, November 7, 2014

Queen’s Arms – London, UK

Many people don’t know that D.Rough spent a semester in London while she was in college and we’ve talked about coming back together and sharing some of our favorite places with each other. Since she couldn’t come with on this trip, she advised me on few places I needed to check out in her old neighborhood. The Queen’s Arms in Kensington was one of those places.

The inside of this pub is lively – some might say loud, but I say lively. Lots of small and medium sized groups sitting at tables or standing near the bar. Everyone’s food looks great, so I’m looking forward to this. I took these photos when I first got to the place and shortly after, it was standing room only and a fire marshall's nightmare.

They’ve got an extensive beer and cider menu, as well as some good food, so I knew I’d be taken care of for a few hours, anyway. As in many places in the UK, you order at the bar – food and drinks, both. I checked out the menu and made my decisions – not the easiest thing to do with so many good things available. I started with an Addlestones Cloudy Cider. Good and full-bodied, exactly what I wanted. I ordered a Meat Board – which is like a sampler, and I also felt like I needed some mac & cheese.

The Meat Board is just awesome. Slices of hand crafted cured deli meats. A pepperoni, maybe a mortadella, and something else that was made from pigs. Delicious. There were scotched quail eggs. If you don’t know what a scotch egg is, you’re missing out – it’s a hardboiled egg wrapped in sausage and then deep-fried. Killer. These were particularly fennel-y and I loved them. A whole batch of olives and garlic, and some tasty bread and olive oil. The olives weren’t the jarred kind from the US, either. They were the good ones. Sure it was meant to be shared, but I was really hungry and ate the whole thing. Duh.

The mac & cheese was really good, as well. It was baked in a little crock and they don’t use the kinds of cheese that we do in the US. This made it even better. It also wasn’t swimming in cheese like they do in the US – I thought I’d complain about that, but the flavor of the cheese was good enough that I didn’t even notice until I looked at the photo. I really liked this stuff.

I had to get another cider, so I went with the Aspall Suffolk cider. It was a lighter color and a little sweeter but still full flavored. Liked this one a lot. The most, in fact.

I eventually finished the Aspall and went back and asked for a recommendation for a really full-bodied cider. They gave me an Orchard Pig Truffler, a dry sparkling cider. It was heavy. Very heavy, and lots of flavor. Almost overpowering. That will teach me to ask for a really full bodied cider where they invented cider. Good, and I’m glad I tried it, but it was massive.

While finishing off my last cider, I looked around at other people’s plates. The fish and chips looked fantastic. I’m not upset at all with what I ordered, but I know what I would get the next time. The Queen’s Arms is a very active pub and the bartender reminded me of my friend Justin, from back home in Illinois (he’d be offended that I said that, since he’s technically from Texas). The server and all the bartenders were extremely nice and laid back. Also, watching weave-y people drunkenly rub their faces really hard makes me laugh. This place would absolutely be my local hang out if I lived near here. Thanks for recommending it, DRough.

[Note: In the UK, it is very unusual to go to a pub alone. In the US, you can sit sadly on a barstool not talking to anyone for hours, but I don’t think that happens here. It IS amusing however, that it’s perfectly alright if you’re alone to come in to a pub and POUND A PINT OF BEER and then immediately walk out. I love fun cultural differences!]

Top 5 things about The Queen’s Arms pub
1. Meat Board, especially the Scotched Quail Eggs
2. Aspall Suffolk
3. Mac and Cheese
4. Addlestone’s Cloudy Cider
5. The staff general seemed happy to be there and wanted to help make everyone comfortable

Bottom 5 things
1. It’s very tucked away and you have to MEAN to find it, if you’re not from there
2. It gets very very packed inside
3. You sort of have to stake your claim on a bench or table if you want to sit, otherwise, you stand at the bar
4. I REALLY wanted to order the fish and chips after eating the meat board, but I’m glad I didn’t
5. I had to sit next to two people who were trying to get each other to leave their respective spouses and sleep with each other. Very weird

The Queen’s Arms
30 Queens Gate Mews
London, SW7 5QL

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