Saturday 26 September 2015

Duke of Cambridge organic pub.

I love traveling, it's the discovery of new and unexplored (by me naturally) that never seizes to loose its appeal. However, I don't necessarily need to go very far to find new things. Let's face it, most of the time I stay in my little quarter of London, do my weekly shop, walk around the park and back to the house I go. In honour of Organic September, Duke of Cambridge organic pub was hosting a fete, involving some of my favourite green companies: People tree, Planet Organic and Riverford. Ethical fashion sample sale, organic beauty and cocktails, seriously how could I possibly miss that?! And the pub itself has been long on the list of 'must visit' places, this is what I would call fate if I was trying to be a little dramatic.

The pub is situated in Islington, a little bit away from the main hustle and bustle, the building does look a pretty picture. As usually I got there a few minutes before the official start, my priority was the People Tree rail, so I could try and get the first pick (although this was the last day of their sample sale, so a lot of the things were gone already). I found some lovely things, but as they are for pressies I don't want to post them on the blog just in case.

Straight after getting my bag of people tree goodies I was given a complementary organic cucumber cocktail, which was absolutely delicious (Mr RF got his hands on a carrot one, which might have been even better, I can't make up my mind). My next stop was the Planet Organic beauty table, they were doing mini beauty treatments with certified organic skincare, and had some delicious juices, smoothies and chocolate to try. You could also enter your name to win a goodie bag.

Even though I already use Riverford, it felt rude not to stop for a chat, and I'm glad I did. They were selling delicious romanesco, and it turns out that it is only in season for 6 weeks out of the year (it's absolutely scrumptious and I definitely prefer it to normal cauliflower). They also just had their first crop of edamame beans, which I'm very excited about. I left with the spring/summer veg book, I have been eyeing it up for some time, and after flicking through it, plus a discount, well you know the rest...

Since we already made the trip to the Duke of Cambridge, it would have been simply rude not to stay for lunch. We picked a table with handy hooks to hang your bags on, and patiently waited for the lunch menu to be written out on the board. The menus are seasonal and differ everyday, they start serving lunch at 12:30 (but I'm pretty sure we ordered ten/fifteen minutes before that and no one made a fuss). The menu consisted of 6 starters, 6 mains, 4 sides, 4 puddings, and 7 bar snacks. While I'm not a vegetarian (nor is Mr RF), I like to keep my eye on how many veggie options a restaurant offers, and in general we only have meat/fish a few times a week (less quantity better quality, is what I try to do). So 3 out the 6 starters were veggie (I think only one would qualify as vegan), 2 out of the 6 mains were vegetarian (one vegan), and all the sides were veggie, plus most of the bar snacks were vegetarian. Overall I felt there was a good variety, taking into account the overall number of dishes, but if you have specific dietary needs I think that it's best to give them a call due to the changing nature of the menus (everyone seemed generally very helpful and I think the quality of the food is definitely worth the trouble).

Both of us opted for the veggie mains. I chose the roasted peppers stuffed with cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers, on the bed of sweet potatoe pure and green leaves (I believe it was a variety of lettuce). Mr RF chose medetiranean vegetable spaghetti with parmesan cheese (I'm sure they would happily hold off on the cheese for those who wouldn't want it/couldn't have it). As is normal, I tried some of the spaghetti and it was nice, but it had nothing on my dish. My stuffed peppers were amazing. I kid you not, some of the best food I've had in London, everything was right. They were cooked to perfection, dressing on the salad was just right, all the flavours worked together so well, and the temperature of the food was spot on (yep I have been called Goldilocks on a few occasions, how hot/cold a dish is does make a huge difference). To my absolute delight they also had complementary cucumber & mint water (also plain water) at the bar, you just go up and poor yourself a glass when you fancy. I'm not sure how things are during non event days, but on this particular Saturday you made your order at the bar, and when the food was ready it was brought over to your table. Surprisingly you could have a tab open, and that's not something most pubs do anymore (well definitely not for the first time customers).

I loved the overall atmosphere, some people were just having coffee served in an Italian style cafetière, and making use of the free wifi on their laptops. The space had big windows so it was very bright and airy. I will be making a point of coming back, after all it is the only certified organic pub in UK.

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