Great Queen Street

17 Jan

As often as we can my sister and I endeavour to meet up with another sister duo that we have been good friends with all our lives for lots of food and a bit of boozing. Unfortunately this only happens a couple of times a year, one of them being our annual Christmas Social which is usually organised last-minute and involves a lengthy argument with my sister about what we should eat while the other two stay sheepishly quiet in the corner. So come October I took it upon myself to choose a date and a venue to avoid the inevitable stress and bad curry. I tentatively broached the idea of Great Queen Street in Holborn as my sister is one to keep her purse strings securely knotted and thinks a maximum of £15 for a main is unheard of, but to my surprise she happily agreed and I was safe in the knowledge that food wise I would have nothing to worry about.

Great Queen Street is probably my favourite restaurant in London. It is the sister of the Anchor & Hope, a great pub that does equally great food, just next to my work. Both restaurants have a daily changing menu which offers dishes that include great cuts of meat as well as huge plates of food to share which encourages a type of social dining that I love. Better than tapas where I tend to get possessive over certain dishes (BUT I CHOSE THAT ONE), you could be sharing a slow cooked shoulder of lamb with seasonal veg so there are no begrudging feelings as everyone tucks in.

Two months later we found ourselves sat at a heavy wooden table by the window devouring bread from St John (nom nom nom). I thought we would all be going straight to mains, but my sister of all people asked if anyone else was thinking of having a starter. I could have hugged her right there and then, but I restrained myself in order to choose my first course correctly. I would have gone for the snail and bacon salad as I usually do but as someone else had chosen it I went for an anchovy and beetroot salad with a soft-boiled egg, purely because I do love a soft-boiled egg.

I was a bit confused by my starter as the whole thing was cold. The cold anchovies and beetroot didn’t surprise me but the chilled soft-boiled egg threw me. The yolk was soft… but it was cold. I just couldn’t get my head around it. It wasn’t exactly non-tasty, it was just, you know, um, really weird. Even now, a whole month on, I am wearing a quizzical expression.

My main was much more successful. After rearranging the seating plan my sister from another mister and I shared a chicken with chips and tartare sauce (it was the chips and the tartare sauce which seduced me). It all arrived on one platter, the chicken moist and laying in its own flavoursome juices. Nothing stopped me from wiping the dish clean with the huge, squidgy and piping hot chips. Ooooh, they were good. The tartare sauce was tangy and cut through the richness of the chicken and the potatoes. I had such a good time tucking into this. The other two both got Arbroath Smokies which were so creamy and comforting they created the illusion of lying under thick woollen rugs by a blazing log fire.

By this point I was stuffed, but as always I still had a little pocket of stomach left for a bit of sweet. I was about to enter the so full I hurt category but welcomed it with open arms. We decided to order a different pudding each and share them all between us – the puddings in reverse order of greatness go:

4. Brown bread ice cream and quince sorbet. Both were really delicious. The brown bread gave the ice cream a pleasant chewy texture and a smooth malty flavour. The quince sorbet was fresh and tasted wonderfully of quince, believe it or not, which is only a good thing. The reason why these come last is because do ice cream and sorbet really qualify as a dessert? They ultimately belong on the side of a dessert.

3. Chocolate fritters. Basically lumps of rich, dark chocolate cake dusted with caster sugar and a dollop of clotted cream on the side. Sumptuous but after two spoonfuls was way too much and a short train ride to clag central.

2. Buttermilk pudding with a sort of orangey compote on the side. The buttermilk pudding was refreshing yet creamy, a bit like a Panna cotta, and the orange burst through with tangy zing. Gobble gobble gobble.

1. A slice of pumpkin jam tart. This won on so many levels. It was like pumpkin pie but had a layer of jam between the pumpkin and pastry which wasn’t too sweet but meant that each mouthful was finished off by a fruity punch in the gob. So good. Too good. Everyone else back off. NAOMI DOESN’T SHARE FOOD. This had turned into a tapas situation.

My sweet stomach pocket was definitely filled and I had crossed over the threshold into immense pain that only a cup of tea and a long sleep could sooth. Other than the blip that was my starter which I am quick to forget, Great Queen Street cements itself as one of my faves. I will forever be returning.

Great Queen Street
32 Great Queen Street London WC2B 5AA

2 Responses to “Great Queen Street”

  1. Chloe White January 19, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

    Errr….shared? You can’t have been that hungry.

    Brown bread ice cream!!!! Sounds so good.

    • girlinpearls January 20, 2011 at 10:23 am #

      It was meant to be shared between two! Yet could have happily fed twelve.

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