I’m ten minutes early for our office Christmas dinner. Better have a drink while I wait, then.
Call me old fashioned, but if you have three handpumps on your bar you should expect that at some point someone will order a beer. The last time I was in the Bleeding Heart – admittedly some years ago – it was still more pub than restaurant, with a decent collection of Belgian bottles if I recall. It’s now one of those pubs that is more restaurant than pub, even if it still looks like one.
“Pint of Broadside, please”
“No, Broadside, please. BROAD SIDE.”
The manager scampers to the rescue, brushing the waitress-cum-barmaid aside after she finally pours my beer. French, smiling and sharp-suited he takes my payment and transfers my pint – dangled between two fingers like a soiled tissue – to the only table without a menu on it. By the baffled reaction, you’d think I’d walked into a butchers shop and ordered a bowling ball. Of the three pumps, one is naked and one – weirdly – has a clip for Bitburger Pils. I’m tempted to ask but I already feel like a character in a HM Bateman cartoon, so I resist.
Perhaps surprisingly, the Broadside was as good as any I’ve ever had. Later, a couplathree more pints washed down an excellent game terrine and a braised steak.
Afterwards we ended up in the Betsey Trotwood, a pub I’ve never taken to – though I’ve seen a lot of bands there over the years. Service was indifferent and so was the beer – Christmas Ale and Late Red both had a dry, ‘dusty’ and slightly sour aftertaste. No lacing, and flat as a pancake with a quarter of the glass left. A better pint in a restaurant than a pub? That’s London drinking for you – unpredictable.
I’d left the camera at home, so the photo is of Southwold – home of Adnams – as seen from the magnificent pier.