Let’s face it, 2018 has been a crazy year for us all. The dreaded B-word, the orange man in the Whitehouse, Novichok, GDPR and drones were all actively chipping away at our collective calm. Thank goodness Sir Attenborough is still in great health. We all deserve a little treat and we got ours in the form of a festive visit to the Jugged Hare near Barbican. We’ve lost count of the times we’ve dined at this great restaurant and longed for a deliciously stable dining experience in an unbalanced world. Our wish came true!
Although we love the décor at the Jugged Hare, it certainly won’t feature highly on any Veganuary must-visit venue lists. An homage to meat and game, the walls are festooned with stuffed Deer, birds and all manner of edible beasts, while the staircase features a butcher’s block display window. Blackboards featuring specials are written with expert calligraphy. Tasteful red leather furnishings paired with rich woods make a handsome dining room, featuring a view of the working kitchen along one flank. Seated beneath a string of butcher’s hooks, we sipped Champagne while our kind host bought us a few snacks to whet our appetites. The Brixham scampi were deep fried to crispy perfection and the Black Pudding croquettes with Guinness sauce alone are worth a pilgrimage to this fine establishment. Juicy, peppery and enveloped with golden breadcrumbs, a real Mr Flavour Favourite.
The Jugged Hare take pride in sourcing their produce locally and acquire their game the proper way, even warning of possible traces of shot in some dishes. We couldn’t wait to eat our way around the British Isles and got stuck into some starters. The potted Yorkshire rabbit came pleasingly free of bullets and the sharp pickled vegetables contrasted beautifully with its buttery composition. A tranche of smoked Cornish mackerel towered above a heap of fennel and chilli slaw, delivering a fresh reminder of the quality available from Billingsgate fish market. Following the theme, we ordered the Peterhead cod fillet with a mussel chowder. The creamy broth made a tasty accompaniment to the fresh, well prepared fillet of fish. For a meaty treat, we tried braised Longhorn short rib of beef, served with lashings of decadent mashed potato, horseradish and a rich jus. Paired with a fine Malbec, it was the perfect antidote to a tumultuous year.
Following this feast, we magically found room for puddings. We were powerless to resist a dark chocolate mousse with honeycomb and gingerbread ice cream, and a pear and almond slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Delicious, and even more so when accompanied with a chilled dessert wine. As our meal drew to a satisfyingly conclusion, we patted ourselves on the back for wisely choosing the Jugged Hare for our final restaurant visit of 2018. If this is our reward for battling a challenging year, come at us 2019!
The Jugged Hare
49 Chiswell St, London EC1Y 4SA