If you don’t know what constitutes as English or British cuisine… we’re talking fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, yorkshire pudding, scotch eggs, and of course many different types of curries.
Paul’s birthday is tomorrow, and since he will be 1,284.6 miles away (yes, I googled it) we decided to celebrate him, yesterday. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this or not but Paul and his family are from England, so he’s experienced some pretty authentic English cooking. For his birthday brunch we decided it was only natural to have a “Traditional English Breakfast” at one of his favorite restaurants.
The Horse and Jockey is a great little spot, just ask the locals… It’s one of the best places around to enjoy some authentic English food and to catch the football (soccer) game. We’ve eaten here many of times and are always amazed at how amazing it is!
They have a fantastic draft beer selection and a pretty decent happy hour (2-6 every day, $3 wells, $3.75 wine, $4 drafts). There are always a ton of English accents chatting around the bar and eating fish and chips, if that tells you anything… I guess people don’t really judge a Chinese restaurant by the number of Asian people eating there, do they? Ok never mind, where were we?
Yes, the atmosphere is very “pubby”. It’s dim and cozy and has such a relaxing family vibe to it. I think that’s one of the big differences between an American bar and an English pub; It’s socially unacceptable to bring a child into a bar, here in America, where an English pub encourages people to bring their kids.
This was my first time having a traditional English breakfast. It’s pretty similar to our classic American breakfast, but quite different. In America, we are big on cheese and potatoes and sometimes like to incorporate fruit. The Brits like to go heavy on the meat and add a side of beans.
What you see here are two eggs over medium (don’t you dare order them any other way!), English bacon – which is a cross between American bacon and Canadian bacon), thick sausage, sweet baked beans, toast, black pudding – which is a type of blood sausage (not my favorite thing in the world) and of course, it just wouldn’t be a real breakfast without a side of tomatoes and mushrooms.
The sausage was cooked perfectly. It was juicy on the inside with a nice crisp texture on the outside, sort of like a bratwurst. I loved the smoky, fatty bacon… it almost reminded me of a thick round slice of American bacon. Delish! The eggs were… eggs. But the beans were hands down, my favorite part of the meal. I’m not 100% sure how you are supposed to eat them, but it seemed like people were just incorporating a small amount of beans on every bite they took. They add just the perfect amount of sweetness to the bite.
I remember when Paul and I first started dating. I rushed home from work one day to do some homework. I procrastinated, as I typically do, and had like 5 assignments due that night. Paul came over, since he practically lived with me since day 1 and saw how stressed I was. He suggested that he cook dinner. Never turning down a free meal, I thanked him and got to studying.
A whopping 5 minutes later, he appeared with a plate covered in baked beans. I’m pretty sure I laughed out loud. He explained that one of his favorite simple British meals his mom used to make him was beans and toast. One bite is all it took. I was obsessed. Then later into our relationship, I added pan fried hot dogs to the party and now we have “Beanie Weenies & Toast”… but were getting off track and will save that for another time.
Back to The Horse & Jockey – This place is bomb you guys, trust me – but breakfast wasn’t my favorite breakfast. Personally, I prefer eggs with cheese and onions, potatoes, avocado, and sausage … served in a cast iron skillet, covered in gravy. But you don’t go to The Horse and Jockey for that… You go for tradition.
Moving on to lunch and dinner – you really can’t go wrong ordering anything off their menu. I’ve had their fish and chips multiple times; they are always incredible and their portions are HUGE! The curry is great, but whatever you do, don’t try to be the hero and order the Chicken Vindaloo Curry. It’s hot as hell. You’ve been warned.
My favorite thing appetizers are the sausage rolls or and the scotch egg. Both are super flavorful and make you feel like you’re in the cold, wet streets of Manchester… not that I’ve been there, I just seen many movies. I have also thoroughly enjoyed their cottage pie.
So everyone raves about their Reuben Egg Rolls (shown below) I haven’t been able to shy away from my beloved scotch eggs or my favorite sausage rolls but I think I’ll take the leap and try these bad boys next time I’m in. I’ll be sure to let you know!
Also, a small piece of advice: Don’t write a food review before lunch time. I am absolutely starving and my mouth is watering. Goodbye!