After a very long hiatus (sorry friends), I’ve finally got some free time (in between being a full-time student) to tell you how it’s going in London! (Or, as they say here, how “I’m getting on”.) Being on a student budget is not super-conducive to dining in London, but there are some great deals to be had if only you know where to look.
Last month P and I did a “staycation” around London and explored the various neighborhoods we hadn’t frequented yet. Surprisingly we found an aforementioned deal at The Freemasons Arms in tony Hampstead . This airy gastropub with plenty of sidewalk seating and a gorgeous green garden was just the ticket for an unseasonably warm March day in London. It was still a bit breezy so we opted to sit indoors in the bright restaurant.
We opted for the prix fixe menu of two courses for £12.95. P and I cheated to cobble together a three-course meal with him getting a starter and main and me, a main and dessert.
We started with an assortment of bread served with roasted garlic and a rustic tomato sauce. The roasted garlic was perfectly done, browned on top, mushy after spreading and golden delicious. It was perfect with the homemade brown bread. The tomato sauce didn’t add too much to the dish, IMHO. I preferred just the butter on the bread, garlic, and a sprinkling of salt.
For mains, P got Linguine with Tiger Prawns and Chorizo. I got the spit chicken calzone with roasted vegetables. In all honesty, the Linguine wasn’t worth writing home about (or writing a post about) – I’d give it a pass. My calzone, however, was quite good and really, really huge. The crust was browned and crimped beautifully, and roasted tomato sauce smothered a whole lot of chicken. To be honest, I think it could have done with less chicken and more veg as the meat overwhelmed you after a few bites.
P had to help me finish my massive calzone, but afterwards we couldn’t resist dessert. Our apple crumble was rustically presented with a mint leaf and a healthy dusting of powdered sugar, homemade goodness in a ramekin. The cream it was paired with was the perfect, smooth counterpoint to the crunch of the crumble.
After the meal we definitely needed a ramble to help digest. Thankfully the pub is only steps away from Hampstead Heath – as if they’d known we would stuff ourselves silly.
The Freemasons Arms
32 Downshire Hill
Hampstead Heath, NW3 1NT
020 7433 6811
2-course set menu: £12.95 (weekdays before 7pm)