22 August 2013

hare's got game

It's that time of the week again. Nailspiration this week has come from a recent trip with Nathan from the London Larder to a press event at The Jugged Hare (tube: Barbican). Part of the Ed & Tim Martin (aka the ETM Group) family of fine gastro pubs, The Jugged Hare stands out from its siblings because of its unique focus on game (the meat, not the entertainment).

The Concept | Game = all food served is in season which means if you can't catch it this month then you won't be able to eat it. The concept is therefore quite simple, you get to eat beautiful food that is naturally in abundance (as locally sourced as possible) which means every month you visit you will probably get to try something different and might even learn something new too.

The Detail | From the outside, The Jugged Hare may look like a normal pub but when you get inside you quickly realise that the design and feel of the pub comes with a high level of detail and quality. Elements I really liked were: 1) all wines are individually sourced from great producers or at auction by owners Ed & Tim, 2) one end of the walk-in chiller has a glass window into which you can see a variety of the fresh game on the menu that week and 3) you can attend some witty-named, tailored events throughout the coming months centred around what's in season - "dates for the diary" include: Glorious Grouse, Tweed Off, Phantastic Pheasant & Game and Fine Wine Pairing evenings.

What We Ate (and Drank) | Upon entering the press event room, we were handed a delightful little sloe gin cocktail (right up my street) and greeted with a room full of guests from all walks of life. Nathan and I decided to be unsociable because we were exhausted and just wanted to catch up (boring, I know!). Throughout the evening, we were offered trays of various delicious bites - my particular favourite was the Red Grouse Burger*, it was the tastiest little burger I can honestly say I've ever tried. We also had the house signature dish Jugged Hare (a 30-something hour cooking process involving water baths, jugs and wine) with mash and apple pieces, Breaded Grouse Legs with garlic-chilli mayo as well as yummy Mushroom Arrancini. Nathan also tried the specially brewed house "Jugged Hare"pale ale which I think he really enjoyed. To top it off, we had a mini raspberry cheesecake and chocolate torte. All very tasty.

* The Red Grouse Burger | breast of red grouse with grouse paté, red current jelly and watercress in a brioche bun | i.e. heaven in a bun

The Setting | Because I am super nosey, I asked one of the waiters if we could get a tour of the full restaurant which he kindly obliged. Richard told us about the Ed & Tim Martin ethos, how the restaurant concept had come about as well as all the little facts I've mentioned in this piece which I wouldn't have known otherwise - like the events, the glass walk-in fridge and Ed & Tim's love-slash-appreciation of special wines. Richard was extremely knowledgable and clearly a great advocate of The Jugged Hare which was lovely to see. The restaurant itself is cosy and classy, with an open kitchen and overall had a very relaxed vibe - great date venue or just to have a nice meal with friends.

Every time I travel, I always think that nowhere else does pubs quite like Britain. We definitely have a spectrum from the local to the high-end, and I have to say that The Jugged Hare is a great ambassador for British Gastro Pubs. It offers something different but still maintains that great British feel. At one point, I said to Nathan that it felt like we had been transported to a hunting lodge somewhere in the countryside, enjoying our catch of that day. Meat lover or not, this is a special place and I would highly recommend dropping in if you are ever in the Barbican area. So go on, get your Game On.

Hopefully, the inspiration for my nail art this week (and what they actually are) is quite obvious. (The bunny on my thumb looks particularly crazy, ha). Nathan and I couldn't stop with the puns all night so I will leave you with this one: This week's nail art is hare today, gone tomorrow... well, more like next week :D

nails | base: blue moon, bunny: mushroom, ears: pink (all, Barry M), eyes: spilled milk (Topshop) & trophy wife (Essie)

thanks for stopping by :)

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