Pub of the year?
|Fish head Curry|
Marksman has long been on my agenda to pay a visit, a good quality gastro pub is hard to come by these days and Marksman appears to ticks all the boxes for me. Awarded the best pub in the UK by the Michelin guide, along with countless top reviews from the press. On top of that, Marksman is run by Tom Harris (ex St John Hotel, which also had a Michelin star) so my expectation was high. The a la carte menu had a mixture of modern dishes with some pub classics, such as roasted chicken and pies. For me that is a great balance, as many locals still treat the pub as a local hangout joint instead of a dining destination for foodies like myself.
|Devilled Cuttlefish & Pickled Onion|
|Smoked Sea Trout , Creme Fraiche|
|Asparagus, Flax & Spenwood|
|Snails, Cured Tamworth, Peas & Lovage|
The special starter of the day was a fish head with curry, a very unusual dish that you would not usually see in a pub, but getting messy with bones and head are never a problem for me. The meat was smooth and moist, especially the cheek part, with the mild carry sauce added a touch of lovely sweetness and spiciness. The dish also came with pitta bread and mango chutney, this well could be the best £12 I have ever spend on a fish dish. Both the sharing mains were fantastic, the veal and garlic pie packed a punch with its boldness, the pastry was done perfectly, as was the meaty filling, this was a classic pub dish but at the very top level. Chicken and mushroom, another British classic, and this version from Marksman was hard to beat. Crispy skin, tender meat and finely seasoned, with the girolles mushroom offered a smooth texture and it worked exceptionally well with the chicken.
|Braised Suffolk Lamb, Onions & Wild Fennel|
|Turbot, Mussels, Saffron & Fennel|
|Veal garlic pie|
|Woolley Park Farm chicken|
Interestingly enough, I found the good old fashioned pub dishes more enjoyable than some of the more creative dishes, such as the cured sea trout and main of turbot fillet. What really does it for me was the delightful bold flavours and the good use of top quality ingredients combination. By the way, the beer selection was fantastic, it had a large range of local brews on drafts that I am sure you could find something you will enjoy. Is it really pub of the year for me? Hard to say for me, but as far as London standard wise, Marksman is right up there.
What I paid:
£40 per head with a beer
Average cost without drinks and services:
254 Hackney Rd, London E2 7SJ, UK