A Review of the Hare and Billet
I’m guessing with all the fuss and publicity around the refurbished Hare and Billet, locals will already know it’s raison d’être: real ales in a gastro pub. You can tell this by glancing in: the elegant interior is also full of people in jumpers, not lipsticked with jangly earrings.
The menu is replete with a selection of Meantime brews however the presence of the Meantime Brewery in Greenwich meant that on our visit we were looking for something new. An attentive barman responded immediately to our leaning towards some of the options and muttering their names vaguely by grabbing a sample glass for us to try a few. Phew, ignorance dispelled. Curious Magic Rock was refreshingly unbitter with wonderful citrus flavours and definitely a recommendation if you tend to shy away from beers. Renaissance was heavier and darker.
We did however spot a problem with the business model. One of our party was dead set on eating chips. And ok, it was a gastro pub, but it was still a pub you know. The vast array of real ales didn’t let it off offering wine, now did it? We had some debate over whether Anya potato might actually be a posh name for chips but it turned out we were wrong, our friend returned with crisps. (Crisps are sold I see… Just not chips..?) and a later google revealed that Anya potatoes are an unusual type of Scottish potato- produced exclusively for Sainsbury’s. A classy touch!
The food that was available was exquisiteness cooked. Feta and broad bean salad stater was fresh and rich with the flavour of the ingredients rather than the flavour of an over eager vinaigrette. The lamb came with the best slice off potato gratin ever made with a perfect measure of nutmeg.
It was expensive. We shared all courses. Except the dessert.
There were strictly only 3 deserts available. Which seemed a little offish to me.
Take a look at the dessert menu to see what the Hare andBillet’s real priorities are…
So among the dessert options were Valhrona chocolate cake (I usually find chocolate cake very disappointing); another was bakewell… a concept that will always blighted in my mind by Mr Kipling’s cold and stodgy pastry. The last was boiled orange cake. Now that’s the sort of thing.
Boiled orange cake was tangy, but needed to arrive with something sourer than vanilla icecream that made the whole experience a little sickly.
Cold stodgy pastry is definitely worse than chocolate cake, at least you can eat the icing without an uncouth experience with a glacé cherry, so the 2nd dessert we chose was chocolate cake. Now I do buy that the chocolate cake was good quality. Made of proper chocolate and not labouring under any silly icing pretensions. But it was a bit unexciting.
There must be a good way to make good quality chocolate cake other than to name it after the manufacturer. It’s not like the chocolate market has suffered under investment lately. Except for Thorntons (but that’s a good thing, surely?) In my experience scotch is a great combo with dark chocolate… And how about the grounding effect of crumbled walnuts in a flourless type…Any local chefs out there prepared to take the bait?
1 Hare and Billet Rd, London