KKNY In London Part III: On The Merits Of Pub Grub

The Cittie of Yorke. There's been a pub on this site since 1430.
I've been defending British food for the better part of the last twenty years. While I may admit it may not be the world's most transcendent cuisine (and many people say it's just plain boring), I think it can be absolutely wonderful. In particular, I love pub grub--from a Ploughman's Lunch (which can range from simple cheese, bread, and a little salad, to the much more complex gastropub combo with sliced meats, a cold pie, or other adornments) to a Steak & Kidney Pie, when it's done well, it's a very happy thing.

During my recent London adventure, most of my meals out were in pubs, as part of my goal during the week was to visit as many historic establishments as I could. (Turns out my old watering hole, The Prince Alfred, is considered by many to be one of the finest examples of Victorian-era pubs out there. It is indeed stunning, and my naïve self back in the day just thought all pubs were that beautiful...) I can't really tell if the gastropub revolution has helped up the quality of British food in general (I'm sure there are still stinkers, but that's the case with any type of food anywhere), but what I ate was not only consistently good, but fairly inexpensive.

Ye Olde Mitre. The pub apparently dates to 1547, but was rebuilt circa 1772.

So to put it simply: First of all, when you head to the UK, don't be afraid of the pub food, and if you order a pie or the like, I'm fairly certain you'll be happy. And secondly, it seems that if you stick to traditional pub grub (gastropubs are another story), you can eat fairly cheaply, which totally floats my boat. I mean, check out Ye Olde Mitre's menu. It's one of the city's oldest establishments (and the coziest we visited), so there's no excuse not to pop in for a truly cheap eat and a little historical character!

My absolute favorite go-to dish is Steak & Ale Pie (or variants thereof), which is surprisingly hard to find in New York's pubs and taverns. A rich stew topped by flaky puff pastry, a well-done version (like the amazing one I had at The George Inn in Southwark last week) is beautifully aromatic, cozy and crunchy, and is a wonderful, wonderful thing. After watching The Hairy Bikers video below, I realize that I have absolutely no excuse not to make it myself....and I plan to do so as soon as the weather gets a bit more chilly...

The Cittie of Yorke, 22 High Holborn, London WC1V 6BN.
The George Inn, The George Inn Yard, 77 Borough High Street, Southwark, London SE1 1NH. 
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, 145 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2BU.
Ye Olde Mitre Tavern, 1 Ely Court, Ely Place side of 8 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 6SJ. 
The Prince Alfred, 5A Formosa Street, London W9 1EE.

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