The Britannia, Victoria Park E9

Do you support the grow local theory? You know, less food miles, supporting community producers. I hope my local pub does, as lately I’ve been going with the ‘eat out local’ approach instead.

The Britannia was taken over about a year ago and changed from a dodgy old men’s pub, inhabited by squatters and terrorised by squirrels, to gasto-bistro-bugabooland.  Don’t let the family-friendly policy put you off though – it’s fairly cavernous and there’s room for kids to tear about without unduly bothering anyone.  Even me, with a famously low patience threshold.

It’s best to check the website to see what’s on offer day to day and visit during the week if you can as it’s chock-a-block at the weekends.  When the new menu came out last week, we picked a selection of starters instead of mains:

:: Winter Roasted Vegetables with Poached Egg ::

Only comment is that the squash could have been cooked slightly longer. Coming from a culture that boils veg into submission, this could be a personal preference.

:: Venison Terrine ::

Dense, meaty, unctuous.

:: Chicken Tortellini in chicken broth with pearl barley ::

My personal highlight of the array of starters and I’ve since ordered it as a main. The tortellini are heavy little parcels, herby and delicious.

:: Butternut Squash and Cashel Blue tart ::

Buttery pastry and my favourite Irish blue cheese. Ok, I have no idea how many Irish blues there might be. This one is good, very good.

Stars:  *****

Although it’s definitely getting better, the service is the only reason that the Britannia loses a star. They seem to juggle about with the numbers of staff, particularly at the weekends but they’re generally pretty affable.  They fire up the grill at the weekend and held a series of BFI screenings during the summer. All in all – it’s everything you could want in a local.

The Britannia Pub, 360 Victoria Park Road, London E9 7BT. 020 8533 0040

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