With the reported closure of at least 1 pub a week in London, it is particularly heartwarming to visit a successfully run neighbourhood pub, in the form of The Belrose in the upscale Belsize Park.
It is smartly designed so that it strikes the right balance between a sophisticated look to match their clientele but also a welcoming homeliness, so locals feel like strolling in on a regular basis. Marine blue paint is interspersed amongst the light wood panelling along with an abundance of greenery to soothe any work-weary eyes.
What is particularly winsome about their menu is the Italian-inspired rustic menu they offer rather than a stereotypical menu of fish and chips and bangers and mash. In fact, they were so successful, they had sold out of all their pizzas on our recent visit on a Sunday night; which meant we’ve already had to plan a repeat trip to sample their famous nutella calzone with pistachio ice cream.
Photo courtesy of Charlie McKay
Starters were elegantly presented such as grilled Iberian chorizo with carefully placed dots of rocket mayo, which was imbued with rich, savoury notes. It would have been perfection if it was served with a piece of sourdough bread rather than some rocket.
Surprisingly, the Cornish mussels that my guest ordered was more substantial. It came served in a generously-sized bowl and flavoured with white wine, garlic and parsley and a much-desired piece of fresh sourdough bread.
Whilst the clay-fired oven wasn’t on during our visit, there was still much to savour on their menu apart from their renowned pizzas. 28 day aged ribeye was just the right shade of pink for a medium rare request and presented in a juicy, thick cut. Some greenery would have made the presentation more appetising, but as is the case with most restaurants these days, they want to encourage you to order sides; although it does come with fries and garlic butter or blue cheese sauce.
I ordered a pan-fried hake which was expertly cooked so that the skin was crispy and had an appealing sheen. It was served alongside healthy doses of kale and haricot beans; less so for the chorizo but that is always a much appreciated ingredient to help flavour fish dishes.
We’ve finished off our delightful with a home-made tiramisu. It isn’t the most attractive dessert you will have ever seen, but it has that kind of comforting factor which is just what you need in the winter months.
The Belrose is just the kind of pub you want to spend hours in during the winter months with a captivating book, a classy glass of Pinot Noir and a dish or two.