Perhaps apologies are due for returning to the Jugged Hare yet again, but we were looking for a venue for a Sunday Lunch – and looking for best London Sunday lunches on the internet, The Jugged Hare, reckoned to be one of London’s best gastropubs, was frequently one of the venues mentioned. Given it’s about a 2 minute walk from my flat, and we were going on to watch the finals of the Young Musician of the Year in the afternoon at the Barbican Centre, it was the ideal location. When we’ve eaten there before it has always been in the evening, but never at lunchtime and particularly not for a traditional Sunday lunch. The Jugged Hare is a collaboration between the ETM Restaurant Group and the Montcalm City Hotel at the Brewery on Chiswell Street – as is Chiswell Street Dining Rooms at the other end of the hotel.
Time was when it was a struggle in our area to find a good Sunday Lunch venue close to the Barbican. For the most part restaurants in the area shut up shop at weekends, but over the past few years things have changed drastically. Close by we have Hix Oyster & Chop House, which we covered with a Sunday Lunch review a couple of issues ago, Smiths Top Floor – have just seen a great comment on barbicantalk for a Sunday lunch there – complete with a 20% discount for Barbican Association members, Foxlow in St John Street, Wood Street Bar and Restaurant even closer under Andrewes House and some local pubs – notably The Old Red Cow and The Artillery Arms have their adherents as does Cote Barbican while I am sure there are many other favourite venues for a Sunday Lunch relatively close at hand for Barbican residents nowadays. There are also several nearby restaurants serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, often with unlimited prosecco and/or mimosas and/or bloody Marys, all at a set price. But as noted above it was a traditional Sunday Roast for which this reviewer was searching.
By the time we left the restaurant was just about full
We arrived earlyish before 12.30 and there were only a few tables occupied, but by the time we left a couple of hours later it was completely full. Booking for Sunday Lunch at the Jugged Hare is definitely advisable.
Overall a very good meal. Some quibbles – I had a sauteed herring roe with chilli and garlic butter starter (£11). What I wasn’t expecting was for the roes to be almost drowned in capers (not mentioned in the menu) which I don’t really appreciate and completely overwhelmed the delicate taste of the soft herring roes. The other starter we had – potted prawns (£9) – was excellent though. But before the starters we had the crispy pigs ears table snacks (£8.50) while we were deciding what to order and they were very good.
The roast beef – nicely rare to my taste
For mains I went for traditional – roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and vegetables (£18.50). Served as I requested on the rare side. This was an enormous hunk of beef rump which I had difficulty finishing – a very tasty piece of beef indeed. Might have preferred the horseradish cream on the side though. The vegetable sides which came with the beef were also far too much for one person.
My wife chose roast Hebridean hogget loin (a slightly older lamb) off the specials menu (£26) which came with rather less in the way of vegetables so she helped out with some of mine. She found the taste excellent – slightly more intense than lamb, but not as much so as mutton.
For wines we had a couple of sauvignon blancs by the glass to go with the starters – A French Touraine (£7.50) and a New Zealand Marlborough (£8.80) the latter having the more intense sauvignon grape taste.
But with the mains we had been invited to try out the wines available by the glass utilising the restaurant’s new Coravin dispensing system. This enables some really fine wines to be made available by the glass as the Coravin lets no air into the bottle as wine is dispensed. Thus wines which would not normally be available by the glass are available to try. However these are for those wine connoisseurs to try out fine wines in affordable amounts – assuming you’re happy to pay between £18.50 and £60 a glass – the latter for a wine which would normally cost £390 a bottle. The wine is dispensed at the table as the system is portable.
The portable Coravin dispenser unit
Thus we were comped a couple of glasses of a 1996 Château Malescot Saint-Exupery, 3ème Cru Classé, Margaux which would normally have cost £26.50 a glass – way beyond my usual wine budget – which was great to try and went really well with the beef and hogget – and I managed to save a little to go with the excellent cheese board (£12).
My wife chose a more conventional dessert – chocolate mousse with muscovado meringue and cocoa nib (£6.50).
All in all an excellent Sunday lunch, and so convenient for Barbican residents, or for someone going on to an event at the Barbican Centre across the street. Despite it being so busy, service was excellent and apart from the minor quibbles mentioned the food was very good too. If one went for the traditional Sunday lunch and say one other course plus a couple of glasses of reasonably priced wine the cost would come to around £40 a head against which there is a 20% discount available to Barbican Association members which would cut the cost further if you qualify. If one splashes out on the alcohol of course then the sky’s the limit. The Coravin wine dispensing system does enable you to try out some extremely high quality, and normally extremely costly fine wines by the glass without breaking the bank too.
The Jugged Hare is on the corner of Chiswell Street and Silk Street and almost opposite the Barbican Centre’s main entrance. For reservations call 020 7614 0134. The website is www.thejuggedhare.com.