Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Concentrating on the League

Thanks to what was apparently a dreadful performance by the Quakers, it was Droylsden and not us who were travelling to sunny Saltergate for the second round of the FA Cup.

And since nature abhors a Saturday without some sort of pub-related activity, I joined forces with Chris Turner - similarly bereft of a game after Rotherham lost their replay to Aldershot - and we meet up at Lou Farrow's pie and mash shop in Bermondsey.

(left) Pie shop

Unlike most traditional P&M shops, Farrow's also offers the usual cafe-style grub.

But we were here for the traditional stuff and since I was quite hungry I went for two pie and mash - the pies were very nice though the mash was rather lumpy. I'd also overestimated the filling power of the pies so I left some mash.

From Bermondsey we made our way to the Angel and took the short walk to the Red Lion. This was a new pub for me despite having worked near by for several few years - five handpumps even if they were some of the usual suspects.

I settled for a pint of Landlord and it is probably the best I've had in London - having that nice crisp, bitterness which is often lacking.

(right) Chris and the Red Lion interior

The pub was quite empty but they were gearing up for the rugby international later in the afternoon - we decided to move on and try the Charles Lamb.

This is another pub that I was aware of but had never tried and if I'd relied on the comments on we probably wouldn't have bothered - complaints of rude and snooty staff.

The pub was full of people eating rather than drinking but we managed to find some stools at the bar. There were three beers on tap - a regular Dark Star Hophead whilst the guests included Butcombe IPA and Blackawton Winter Fuel. Both the Hophead and IPA were in excellent condition and the staff friendly. We'll be back.

Next stop on the crawl was back down the Northern line to Borough Market and the New Forest cider stall where we met Liz, John and Bev. This stall became a regular Saturday afternoon haunt during the close-season but we'd not been for a while.

(left) Paul and some parsley - Liz on the cider champers

As usual we were served by Paul, a shy retiring type who delights in a bit of banter, and who we've previously met in Rose's, Woolwich.

The boys had pints of the vintage Kingston Black whilst the ladies had the champagne cider - lovely stuff!

We departed as the market was closing down and popped into the nearby Rake. I'm rather ambivalent to this bar - it's OK when quiet but too often it's full of loud, shouty types who like drinking straight from the bottle which - as my Mum will tell you - is just common. They also like to freeze the tits (a technical term) off some beers that don't need it.

On the pumps tonight were BrewDog Trashy Blonde and Hophead Porter - we all went for the Porter (except for Liz who was now on the tomato juice) and very fine it was too - tasty with that familiar coffee grounds feel their Expresso Stout has.

By now the hunger pangs had started and we wandered down the road to the Royal Oak - we thought it opened at 5:30pm on Saturdays but the place was almost full when we got there and just managed to get a table.

It was good to see they had Fullers London Porter on - unlike far too many Fullers pubs - and we all got stuck into that. The food was as hearty as they come, my steak and kidney suet pudding was just what was required on a cold day. And the new London Drinker was in stock too.

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