Monday, January 20, 2014

London Day 9 - Rest Day and Restaurant Review: The Pheasant Restaurant

London Day 9 - January 3, 2014, lunch at The Pheasant Restaurant
A break in the rain
Our last day in London was a quiet one, partly because we were tired after traipsing all over London and Paris for the past week and a half and partly because a good portion of the day and night regaled us with rainy weather. At one point it even hailed. Fortunately, that point was when we were still holed up in the hotel room. My nieces had discovered the BBC channel and we watched The Great British Bakeoff. We love cooking and baking shows and we were able to catch back to back episodes of the bake off, including the finale. Fun times.
When the rain finally let up, we ventured out for our last meal of "real British food". Thanks to yelp and google maps, our best technology friends on vacation, we found a place called the Pheasant Restaurant that had gotten good reviews on yelp and was a mile away - very walkable given what we were used to walking during the whole trip.
Inside one of the levels of the restaurant
We lucked out as the weather held and didn't start raining again until we had reached the restaurant and gotten seated. We got even luckier as the Pheasant Restaurant served delicious food from start to finish. Seriously, forget that stereotype that you can't get good British food in the UK. You can. You just need to know where to go. And if you're ever around Heathrow, I would recommend searching out the Pheasant Restaurant.
To start with was a lovely basket of fresh, crusty but not too crusty bread rolls. After a long, cold walk without any breakfast or lunch (it was mid-afternoon by the time we got there), it was manna from heaven. I hadn't thought I could get bread that good outside of France but I was wrong. You have to have some idea of how good that bread was when I could gush about it for a whole paragraph. Good bread.
Shyla's Chicken and Mushroom Pie
Steak & Kidney Pie
In keeping with the traditional British food, Shyla and I both got meat pies - chicken for her while I went with the steak and kidney pie with a side of chips. (At this point, I'd been overseas long enough that I could almost think of "chips" as French fries instead "Doritos".) I have to say once again how amazingly good the meat pie was. The crust was so flaky it was almost like phyllo dough but better. Although I know enough about making pie crusts to understand there was probably lard or butter or both in it, it wasn't greasy at all, just flaky. It was done to perfection and the meat chunks were very tender. The sauce was delicious. I've had good meat pies before but this was probably one of the best if not the best.
Fish and Chips with mushy peas
Lauren went with traditional fish and chips for her last British meal and that was impressive in its size, presentation and taste as well. Crisp on the outside, tender, flaky fish on the inside. The chips on all of our orders were a bit too large for my taste as not all of them were done to mealy tenderness which is how I like my fries, er, chips, but that was only a minor issue.
Sticky Toffee Pudding - the before shot
For dessert, of course, it was sticky toffee pudding for Lauren (Shyla was full) and I have to give the nod to this one over the one we had at The Windmill a week prior. This one had the texture of a baked cake rather than a steamed one so it was lighter and fluffier. Although I still don't like dates, I avoided the obvious ones on top and just had a couple of bites of the cake. It was so good I instantly started plotting how I was going to try and make one when I got home and hope it turned out equally well.
Bread and butter pudding with custard
For my own dessert order, I decided to try the bread and butter pudding. I was thinking it would come out like the American version of bread pudding but I was slightly wrong and slightly right. Wrong in that it was baked with less custard so it was more dry but it did come with a side of custard you could pour over the top. I was slightly right in that the middle of the bread pudding had more of the moistness and consistency of the bread pudding I'm used to having. This one had a more pronounced butter taste, hence the "bread and butter" moniker. I can't say it was my favorite dessert but I'm glad I tried it to see what it was like, even if I did have to nudge the raisins aside.
Pouring Rain
Thus ended our last meal in London. We left early the next morning to catch our flights back home. It might have been somewhat fitting that we waited for the bus that would take us to Heathrow in pouring rain. Considering the time of year though, I consider we were pretty fortunate that it didn't rain as much as it could have during our trip and we lucked out with some good weather days. All in all, it was a fantastic trip. Thanks, London (and Paris) for the memories. I will forever "Mind the Gap".
Back to the recipes next...

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