Monday, 29 December 2014

Bar Snacks - Clove Club, Merchants Tavern, The Empress, The Hemingway

Ah, 'tis the season. My first ever festive season where organised fun doesn't just have to be organised by me but also, often by an organisation which pays me in return for me spending 40+ hours a week there. I'd like to think of myself as a good host - I try to make sure that my guests are merry and always have a drink in their hand at the expense of both our flat's bank balances and also my own enjoyment. (I spend the whole time freaking out that no one's enjoying themselves and then that I didn't talk to anyone because I was too busy freaking out about no one enjoying themselves which is ridiculous, I know.) But as it turns out, my spirit for Christmas drinks are far surpassed by work's. My November to December have been filled with the reds (wine) and greens (gin) of the festive season, much more so than I could have apprehended. The more casual (i.e. not boyfriend- or friend- affecting) implications of this are that I have spent a lot of time worrying about my skin. (Am I going to break out in spots? Will I age terribly? Yes. To both of those things.) I have also been secretly glad that it has meant that I miss meals despite my rational self knowing that I have been more than consuming lost calories in wine. And that small grace disappears when I have bar snacks. Which I've done a lot recently! Let me give you a run down of what each is good for.

Clove Club
AMAZING bread. It REALLY tastes. And the fried chicken somehow tastes Michelin starred! All lemony and zingy in the crust. Plus the meats, cheeses and wines are as wonderful as you'd expect.

Merchants Tavern
I think they have the best bar snacks - the meatiest, gamiest, chewiest terrine. The best sausage roll I've ever had, buttery and hot and gleaming with egg wash. The aioli skins are so melty and coated in parsley and butter. Also, the bar is possibly my favourite in London and has the cosiest fire and an excellent sound system (even if this means they play their music too loud).

The Empress
I was somewhat snobby about the Empress - it has an air about it that's just a bit too polished and sometimes I'm not into the Mediterranean take on pub food mood.  But, it also has the best whitebait I've ever tasted so I can deal.

The Hemingway
I've been back for bar snacks as well as for a full pub lunch. The cod goujons stayed on my mind for long enough that I returned for them. The scotch egg is by far the queen of breaded snacks. (Anyone who read that and thought I was implying it's the second best - SHAME ON YOU.) If Merchant's took gold for weeknight favourite, this is the winner of the lazy Sunday category.

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