Tasty Olde English food no longer pie in the sky

LONDON – It wasn’t so many years ago that if you told friends of plans to be in London for a month, they would have said. “You have to eat English food that long?”

To everyone but a pompous Frenchman, that notion thankfully become outdated way back.

Ironically, that pompous Frenchman – former French President Jacques Chirac – may have had something to do in getting London the swing votes it needed to beat Paris 54-50 to become host of the Summer Olympic Games that begin Friday.

About a month before the International Olympic Committee’s vote seven years ago for the 2012 city, Chirac opined of the English, “You can’t trust people who cook as badly as that.  After Finland, it’s the country with the worst food.”

Well before Chirac stuffed his mouth with shoe by irritating any IOC member who considers the French arrogant (which means all members but the French), London had one of the world’s most diverse and high quality restaurant scenes.

The trick now, it seemed, would be to find some Olde-fashioned English food: steak-and-kidney pie, suet pudding, treacle, all that good (?) stuff.

And the answer was the Newman Arms pie room, above the pub of the same name.

I tucked into a special pie labeled as organic mutton and “plumb,” which had a misspelling Chirac might have fobbed off as a cute double entendre – i.e., English food as a lead weight.

It had tasty pieces of meat in a plum sauce, covered by puff pastry so flaky it would have shamed most French patissiers.  My wife felt the same about her lamb and rosemary pie, with tender pieces of mutton’s younger sibling (no longer can one assume mutton is passed off as lamb in England).

Each plate was garnished with small potatoes, carrots and what could only be called “French” green beans, all cooked to a nice crispness rather than the mushy consistency one might have expected.

And, of course, a pint of London Pride ale, orange-brown to the eye, round and malty on the palate.

We didn’t have room for any treacle.

But it was plain there is good traditional English food to be had and good things to be said about it.

Like, "Bon appétit."

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    As a founding member of the Grateful Dead, Bill Kreutzmann watched the world change from behind his drum kit, shoveling coal in the wildly tribal rhythm section as the Dead went from San Francisco underground curio to ground-breaking indie outfit, then progenitor of the improvisation-based rock...

  • Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    The cliché that colors every good rock star story is “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll." For the Grateful Dead, the trailblazing rock band known for its improvisational style, revelatory live shows and dedicated fanbase, there was that and so much more.

  • 10 best movies of 2015 so far

    10 best movies of 2015 so far

    The year’s half over! How did that happen? No idea. With six months of a good year of movies in the books, let’s see how the Top 10 list is looking, with a quote from each respective review. Note: There are a few I’ve seen that I really like that haven’t yet opened in Chicago, and those aren’t...

  • If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    Nearly 5 million more Americans would qualify for overtime pay under new rules proposed Tuesday by the Obama administration, a long-anticipated move expected to affect a broad swath of salaried employees from store managers to social workers to restaurant shift supervisors.

  • Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Unlike previous summers, UniStaff is experiencing a spike in job applicants at its Little Village location, a trend the branch manager says is tied to the city's minimum wage increase to $10 per hour beginning Wednesday.

  • 'The Bachelorette' episode 7 recap: How many meltdowns can Shawn have in one week?

    'The Bachelorette' episode 7 recap: How many meltdowns can Shawn have in one week?

    Welcome to RedEye’s coverage of “The Bachelorette,” arguably the most misogynistic show on television! The format is pretty simple: Five women of RedEye each drafted five of the 25 competing men. Everyone gets one point for every man who gets through each week. If you ever want your daughter to...

Comments
Loading