Last year we moved to Wanstead, a lovely little area in East London that has a wonderful village-like feel.
It was a new area for me – I’d visited Wanstead just three times before moving in. I fell in love with it instantly though and can’t imagine living anywhere else.
I love Wanstead for lots of reasons, namely the numerous parks and open spaces on my doorstep, the excellent transport links into London and the independent shops and restaurants in the area.
Well, I love and hate Wanstead for that last one! It’s fair to say that my waistline has expanded since moving to town… but it’s so important to support local independent businesses, even if your waistline does suffer :p
There are several great pubs in Wanstead but my favourite is undoubtedly The Duke. It’s a short stroll from the high street and is a welcoming haven that dishes up excellent seasonal food.
I’d been to the Duke a few times before I was asked if I fancied reviewing it. I’d been for Saturday brunch (perfect poached eggs and avocado on toast), Sunday lunch (roast beef with all the trimmings, washed down with half a bottle of a seriously tasty and reasonable red) and also just to work my way through their gin and tonic menu on a Sunday night whilst listening to some cracking live music.
Last week though we headed down to our local to try dinner for the first time, and what a treat it was.
I started the evening with their recommended Aperitif, an Apple Drop. It tasted exactly like it sounded which was great, and was made from Martini Bianco, fresh apple juice & ginger ale.
To start I had burnt leeks with a poached duck egg, chestnut mushrooms and truffle sauce.
Really delicious and not too filling, unlike Alex’s hot smoked salmon salad with new potatoes and wild garlic pesto, which whilst also delicious would have filled me up!
The burnt leeks dish managed to be delicate whilst also packing a punch in terms of flavour. The poached egg was perfectly runny, the truffle sauce wasn’t overwhelming and it all came together to make a really interesting leek based dish.
For mains I decided that since it was British pie week it would be rude not to order the Beef & Guinness pie. The meat was tender and tasty and the pastry was crisp – a pretty perfect pie basically!
Naturally I also stole a few bites of Alex’s ricotta gnudi with roasted celeriac, buttercream sauce and parmesan. It’s a decadent, rich dish that I couldn’t manage on my own but would happily share.
Rather full for a Wednesday night we decided to share something sweet for dessert. The apple and thyme pie with thyme custard had just a hint of thyme which was rather pleasant. The pie itself was perfect, stuffed with apples that were the right side of tart.
The Duke is one of my favourite places to visit and I’ll be back very soon. Wanstead really isn’t that far out folks, so the next time you’re looking for a friendly pub that serves excellent food it’s well worth a visit.
79 Nightingale Lane
London E11 2EY