As an essentially born and bred Londoner, I am ashamed to say that up until a couple of weeks ago, I had never been to Hampstead. Utterly embarrassing, and my goodness have I been missing out!
My friend Olivia and I set off for lunch at The Spaniards Inn in Hampstead. We were full of the best intentions. A blustery walk around the heath, to really blow away those cobwebs and to work up the appetite. That was, until it started raining. No I know what you’re thinking, but honestly, I haven’t seen rain like this, it was torrential. Monsoon-like. I even saw some sleet. So we rather smugly zoomed along past the Heath and went straight to the pub.
The Spaniards Inn is one of London’s oldest pubs and is, we were assured, terrifically haunted. I can neither confirm or deny this. What I do know is that Harry Styles had his 21st birthday there. Enough said?
It has the sort of lovely charm of a country pub whilst being nestled in a city. Despite being sat right next to a pretty busy road, this does nothing to dent the lovely feel of the place. We were sat in what we deemed to be the hot seat where we could see the oncoming traffic screeching to a halt as the cars took it in turns to zoom past the very narrow road outside the window. It added an extra air of excitement to the lunch. There is a really lovely looking garden which I imagine in Summer is really heavenly. Due to the rain, we were nestled inside in the warmth.
What follows is a hearty and delicious pub meal. If you are looking for healthy meal ideas, and lovely looking salads…you may want to look away now. But don’t worry, I have lots of ideas for you, just have a look here! Or here, or here, or here!
Now you should know by now that I have a complete inability to see a Scotch egg and not eat it. It’s a problem. I’ve joined a group. But needless to say that I made a beeline for the Scotch egg. So much do I love them, that I had eaten it before Olivia had even raised her fork and meekly suggested we split the starters. Sorry, not sorry. It was good, but then I have rarely met a Scotch egg I didn’t like. The vintage pickle definitely tasted vintage, but I don’t know if that is a good thing or not. Good but not eggscellent.
Olivia opted for the Mushrooms on Toast. Paris Brown, Flat and Oyster mushrooms in a stilton cream. Not likely to win any beauty pageants but it was delicious. Well that’s what Olivia said. I felt too guilty to accept a bite after scoffing the Scotch egg in the way I did.
Even with all my encouragements of “work it, work it”, it didn’t relax into the photography session….
The waiter recommended the burger so Olivia obliged and was not disappointed. Look at that little beauty!
That brioche bun had been green with envy. Creating the perfect gluten free brioche is going to be my mission, they are just the best thing, well since sliced bread.
I opted for the Pork Belly. Primarily for the black cabbage and the pumpkin puree it came with. It was delicious, just the sort of comforting pub grub that a rainy day calls for.
And a side of parsnips and kale. I just love parsnips, they are one of my favourites.
After quite a long breather and a bit of a leg stretch, we ordered pudding. Well, it would have been rude not to wouldn’t it??
Lemon tart with raspberry sorbet for me and bread and butter pudding with brandy custard for Olivia.
The tart was deliciously pretty!
The bread and butter pudding, stodgy and comforting, just as it ought to be.
We positively rolled out of the pub and across the road onto the Heath for a leg stretch. Luckily it had stopped raining by then It’s so beautiful! Completely takes you away from the hustle and bustle and you would never know you were in London, until you stumble across this view.
Then you come across a house worthy of Mr Darcy. You perhaps do your best Elizabeth Bennet impression, and then decide it’s probably time to go home.
Thank you Hampstead, I will definitely be back.
I would definitely recommend booking a table at the Spaniards Inn, as it gets booked up especially at weekends. We went on a Tuesday and it was bustling and every table was full, at which the owner declared to us that it was dead. If that’s what dead looks like, then it’s definitely worth booking a table.