The first leg of our big trip, as you well know by now, was London.
We were going there to watch the NFL game between my team, the New Orleans Saints, and the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium, which was an amazing experience, made even better by the fact that the Saints beat the Dolphins 20-0!
But we had a few days in London, and I had planned some culinary experiences to kill the time.
One of them was a return to The Quality Chop House, a classic British restaurant with a modern twist attached to a butcher’s shop in Clerkenwell. The restaurant was built in 1869 and still has the original Victorian decor, which gives it a great atmosphere.
We met there with some friends from Copenhagen who moved to London this summer, and used the opportunity to catch up over some great food and wine.
For starters, we went for a British classic, mince on dripping toast, which was wonderfully crunchy, buttery, and hearty all at the same time, and a lovely, autumn-y mushroom dish with black chanterelles (also called trompettes de mort, or trumpets of death, in French) with hazelnuts.
The Chop House also makes excellent sourdough bread with a yummy raw butter.
For mains, I went a little bit rogue and ordered a vegetarian course – who does that at a place called the CHOP HOUSE? Turns out I do, and it was a great choice!
I had this beauty of a dish: Delica pumpkin with toasted seeds and oats, balsamic, and truffle, and it was just about the perfect fall dish. Soft, warmly spiced pumpkin, crunchy seeds, and heaps of freshly grated truffle – this was a total winner!
The others went the more classic route and ordered steak – a fattier rumpsteak, and a very lean onglet cut.
The Chop House – true to its name – also has pork and lamb chops on the menu. For sides, we got some salad and a few servings of their famous confit potatoes.
Now, let me tell you about these potatoes.
They are not like any other potato dish you’ve ever had. In fact, they rank amongst the top 2 potato dishes I’ve ever eaten (the other one being the gratin dauphinois at La Fontaine de Mars in Paris). How they are made is a secret, but they are basically super thinly sliced squares of potato, stacked on top of each other. Judging by their name, they must be fried in some sort of fat, and while they are soft and succulent on the inside, the outside is amazingly crispy. In short, they are delicious, and they are about 95% of the reason I picked this place for dinner – I’d had them for the first time over two years ago, and I had been dreaming about them ever since.
Obviously, we had to have dessert, and we ordered pretty much across the board.
I chose the lemon curd with sloe compote, the others opted for a scrumptious chocolate dessert (so creamy!) and a classic pear tarte with almonds. I had spotted Beaumes de Venise on the dessert wine list, so of course we had to have a glass of that!
If you don’t know Beaumes de Venise, it’s a French fortified sweet wine, muscat, which is just incredible! My family has been going to the south of France (Provence, to be precise) for many years, and this sweet wine is one of the delicacies we’ve come to love from down there.
We paid about GBP 70 per person for three courses and wines, and while it’s not exactly cheap, it also doesn’t break the bank, especially for what you’re getting.
Honestly, those confit potatoes alone are worth the trip to London!
What’s your favorite place to eat in London? Share your recommendations in the comments!
The Quality Chop House | 88-94 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3EA | thequalitychophouse.com