Month: March 2012

The Blacksmith & Toffeemaker – Clerkenwell

I really wish I could tell you a lot about The Blacksmith & Toffeemaker, but unfortunately this post is probably more of an amuse-bouche than a full-fledged main. I got a little bit of a preview of it at an event I went to last week, but like so many media gatherings, there just wasn’t enough food to go around. Sad, because what I did try was actually very nice.

I know the pub itself is in a bit of a black hole. It’s one of those places that has probably changed ownership in names three times in the last couple years. I remember the space being a bit old man-looking from the outside. I can understand why – it’s stuck in front of a council estate and in between the void that is the journey between the winding streets of Farringdon to restaurant row on Upper Street. The new owners, however, have given it a breath of fresh air. I might even go so far as to say the pub is cute and quirky. Or at least as quriky as a pub can be. I mean, just look at this:

Stuck? Yeah, it’s soap. I probably spent a good minute searching for something with to cleanse my hands, staring at this weird wall fixture until I realised that it was ‘soap on the roap stick’. Probably not the most sanitary, but quite a cool idea.

But yes, the food. What little of it I had, I thought was fantastic. Even though the event was positioned as a re-launch of the pub/new menu/etc, it actually ended up being more of a tasting of English wines, paired with nibbles. I must admit I was sceptical of English wines, but for the most part, they were pretty good too. The Sharpham Estate, Dart Valley Reserve 2009 reminded me a fairly strong viogner, perfectly paird with ‘potted salmon’, which was actually quite a bit more like a parfait.

Maybe parfait is their thing though, the chicken liver variety was a fine little number. Served on homemade bread and whipped with enough consistency and texture to remind you it’s actually meat, this little dollop tickeld the tastebuds:

My favourite nibble of the night, though, was the Scotch Egg, paired Mumford’s English Rosé from Somerset.

I usually prefer my yolk to be slightly more runny, but the sausage casing and crumbly outside more than made up for it. I’ve been told they have a black pudding scotch egg on the menu as well, which I think I’m going to need at some point.

I guess it’s not a bad thing that the worst thing about this event was that there wasn’t enough food. Perhaps it was intentional – the ‘leave them wanting more’ mentality has sort of worked on me. So much so, that I am actually thinking of trekking all the way from Kilburn to Angel (possibly the most inconvenient journey in North London) to try it properly.