Although it may seem like I’m always eating out (okay.. yes admittedly I do eat out a lot!) I really struggle when it comes to choosing dinner places. Often when I eat out during the week I go for simple options, and with pizza being one of my favourite foods I do end up at places like Pizza Pilgrims and Franco Manca more often than I probably should.. but they’re just so good! My decision making is poor at best, and it’s hard enough to choose a brunch spot, but when it comes to dinner options I can’t even decide on a cuisine, let alone a restaurant!
I’m lucky that my mother and father-in-law, John and Sheila, share my love for food but they have a very different love for food; whilst I’m up for trying pretty much anything, they tend to stick to what they know, and they love nothing more than good old British food. Whenever they come to visit it’s the perfect excuse to find a pretty, cosy gastropub, and The Grazing Goat – one of five in the Cubitt House portfolio – was the perfect choice. Located in Marylebone, round the corner from Daisy Green and not far from beautiful restaurants like Roka, NAC and Le Gavroche, I suppose it’s no surprise that it was a stunning place to be. It seemed as though every other car that passed was a Porsche or a Bentley, and despite being just a couple of streets away from the hell that is Oxford Street it was such a relaxing place to sit and enjoy some drinks in the sun before dinner. They have a bar area downstairs, where you can order the same food as in the restaurant, but we chose to eat upstairs where it was slightly more formal. In true public-house style, the decor is rustic and wooden, with random trinkets and posters on the wall, though it definitely has more of a luxurious feel to it.
The waiters and waitresses were seriously attentive – our drinks (including our glasses of tap water!) never went below half and the service was just the right speed, giving us time between courses to relax and chat, but not so long that we started to wonder where our food was! Their menu couldn’t have been more perfect for us. There were upmarket takes on pub classics such as fish and chips and burgers, alongside meat and fish dishes with beautifully well thought-out accompaniments. The starters were similar – unique takes on classics included a leek and potato soup with chive crème fraiche or a Devon crab scotch egg, but there were other more exciting options – Menai mussels with saffron and grilled focaccia for example.
I went for the burrata with heritage tomatoes, rhubarb and pine nut granola and it was incredible. The delightfully creamy burrata came in an absolute fist-sized ball and the heritage tomatoes were the perfect accompaniment – light and fresh to offset the heaviness of the burrata. Granola added a wonderful texture to the soft cheese, which was so creamy it was almost liquid in the middle! Combine that with a beautifully simple round of sourdough and salted butter and it was the most wonderful start to the meal.
For mains I went for the chicken, and I can honestly say I’ve never seen a piece of breast meat so flawlessly white and juicy. Notorious for being dry, I rarely order chicken out, but this was couldn’t have been more tender, and the accompaniments were perfect. Roasted cauliflower is a recent obsession of mine, and this one was perfectly seasoned and cut into delicate florets with a hazelnut dressing and a tangy tomato sauce.
My mother-in-law got the salmon, and as a salmon lover she’s definitely had her fair share of fillets (as have I), but we both agreed it was one of the best we’d had. My father-in-law almost never deviates from fish and chips but having had fish and chips it for lunch, he opted for a burger, and with still being a little full from lunch he kindly donated half to me. It came with smoked cheddar, coppa, onion jam and fries – pretty much everything I could want from a burger, and served in a beautifully soft brioche bun, I think it went half way towards convincing him that a soft white bap is not the only way to enjoy a burger! The patty itself was just average though. Cooked medium, for him being asked how he wanted the patty cooked was a revelation. In my opinion it wasn’t anything special though, particularly when compared to the likes of Lucky Chip, Patty & Bun – not to mention it was considerably pricier at £17. I saw fish and chips come out several times though and that looked great, served with chips so chunky they were like batons! All things considered though I’d personally advise going for one of the other mains.
Then it was onto dessert*, where (as always) I had the toughest decision. Usually when I go out with my inlaws they never get dessert, for two different reasons – Sheila doesn’t have a sweet tooth and John is just simply too full. Knowing how much of a dessert fiend I am though, they always encourage me to get one, or two…… or in this case three! In fact, the cinnamon doughnuts were so good that John actually ordered a whole portion for himself! Soft, warm and dusted in sugar they vaguely reminded me of the incredible fresh ones you get by the seaside, but the malt and coffee custard took them to a whole new level – they were absolutely divine!
Surprisingly of the three, the chocolate was my least favourite. Now don’t get me wrong, it was still wonderful – the slice itself was as rich and indulgent as you could hope for, and the salted caramel ice cream was divine! – but the others were just mind blowingly good.
The apple pie was my favourite.. and possibly one of the best I’ve ever had. Served in a skillet, you get a whole mini pie, with thick crimped pastry and a deliciously sweet apple filling. Top that with toasted pecans, ice cream and a salted caramel drizzle (which had caramelised around the edges of the skillet!) and I just don’t know what more you could want from an apple pie (except maybe one five times the size!). Perhaps my only gripe would be that with the skillet (and the pie) being so hot, it was a matter of seconds before the ice cream started melting and disappearing into the pie, so sadly for me I had to demolish that one before moving onto the others. Then again, if I had just ordered one dessert like a “normal” person I wouldn’t have had that issue!
I’ve been wanting to visit a Cubbitt House public house for ages and after my experience at The Grazing Goat I’ll definitely be trying some of their others!
*It was starting to get dark by this point, hence the rubbish pictures – sorry!