Good pub food isn’t easy to get right. Sometimes you just want a decent burger, a plate of fish n’ chips, or something else typically British, but it would appear that pretty much every pub can cater to you if that’s all you’re looking for. Where do you go if you want a quick, cheap bite to eat that’s actually nice?
While I’m on the subject, let’s get something cleared up: there’s nothing wrong with British food. We may get slated internationally for our bad food, but this is just a very tiresome stereotype. Sure, there are a whole slew of pubs serving up frozen pies that don’t exactly help our cause, but if you’re a tourist willing to dig a little deeper than the shiny Angus Steakhouse exterior then you can find some real treats. The modern face of British cuisine is fresh and seasonal, and it tastes good.
On that note, we are brought to The Mughouse, situated in (or rather under) London Bridge. It’s part of a chain owned by Davy’s, the wine bar, but they’re the first of the chain to make the change to “Gastropub”: they’ve brought in a new chef (Chris Bish), extended their beer range, and are focussing on serving good quality food with a home-cooked feel.
To start we had the crab cakes with sweet chilli sauce, and the ham hock terrine.
The crab cakes were good. Perhaps over-potatoed a little bit, but overall they were exactly as described. If you went to a pub and ordered Thai fish cakes, and these came out, you would not be disappointed.
As for the ham hock terrine – well, as you can see, it is big – almost too big for a starter, but I find that this is almost never an actual complaint. It comes with a dollop of piccalilli relish and a slice of toasted bread. It’s big, and tastes exactly like a ham hock terrine should taste. It was good.
The burger (my main) was frickin’ amazing. Apparently it was forged from fillet off-cuts from the Queen’s butcher in the cracks of Mount Doom. I don’t know about all of that, but it tasted damn good – definitely one of the better burgers that I’ve had in recent times, and I’m not shy about ordering burgers (I have an ongoing personal quest to find the perfect burger).
I tried some of Nuhar’s pie and it was everything that a pub pie should be, and then some. Freshly-made that day mince filling? Check. Crumbly, buttery and intensely satisfying crust? Check. My only regret is that we were both too full to finish it in its entirety. I even left a few chips.
We don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so we ended things with cheese – more specifically, three different types of cheese with crackers. It was good. There’s a board explaining what cheeses they have in. Take heed of it and order appropriately. Sorry for the photo of half-eaten cheeses, we got a bit over-excited when they arrived and forgot to photograph first.
You’re definitely going to want some wine, it being a wine bar and all. Let me suggest that you skip the house red and instead go straight to the E S Malbec Finca Sophenia 2009 – only an extra £10, but tastes so infinitely better that you can’t put a price on it. Apart from £25.
So yeah, that was some good pub food. For that selection of food, sans wine, you’re looking at a shade over £40 – which I think represents good value for money.
N.B. I was invited to review The Mughouse. They gave me “25% off food on a Sunday” vouchers for my readers – if you want one, let me know!