Sunday, 12 September 2010
One of my most enjoyable discoveries this year (thanks to Lizzie) would have to be the big, fat, piggy hog roast at the Red Lion & Sun in Highgate.
This gorgeous pub in the far northern hemisphere (SO much leafy greenery - my eyes, my eyes...!) has an outdoor beer garden which can accommodate about 30 people. As we catch our last few mild nights for the year, I heartily recommend it as a place to gather your troops for a pig on a spit, drinks and easy going good times. However, as the air frosts up during the coming months, you can also take over the back area of the pub for your feasting.
Lizzie organised a hog roast bash here for 30 friends recently. Heath Ball, the friendly owner (@Pubhobbit on Twitter), managed to get his hands on a stonklingly good 75kg Gloucester Old Spot for our pleasure. It was basted in bourbon and roasted just to the point of beautifully juicy and tender - I couldn't fault it. Crackling was also top notch, and it comes with oodles of basic side dishes - potato salad, a colourful tomato and basil salad, coleslaw, freshly baked focaccia and - of course - apple sauce.
There was enough for us all to go back for at least seconds.
All this cost us £10 each. Price will depend on the size of the pig and the size of your group, so you can work that out when you call ahead to arrange things.
If pork is not your thing, (1) take a good hard look at yourself, and (2) perhaps try the lamb roast instead. Heath is a Kiwi so I'm tipping he knows his lamb roasts - I'm keen to go back to try it myself.
At this point, you may notice a distinct lack of happy snaps. The distraction? I was busy getting patriotic over the fantastic Australian wines from the D'Arenberg winery in McLaren Vale which were brought along for our group to sample for the evening (thanks Claire). If you want to try some terrific Aussie wines (with quirky names like The Love Grass, Stump Jump, The Hermit Crab), do look out for them. I've always been a fan so it was nice to sip them and remember the rolling vineyards of home....
You can see pictures of the evening taken by others here and here.
The Red Lion & Sun, 25 North Road, Highgate Village, London, N6 4BE (Tel: 020 8340 1780)