London Larder was devised in 2012 to bring you the ultimate eating and drinking guide to London. It was borne out of a need for up-to-date, quantitative and whole-heartedly recommended places to eat and drink.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Blacksmith and The Toffeemaker


The Clerkenwell and Islington area isn't short of trendy boozers, but now there's a new kid on the block. The Blacksmith and The Toffeemaker, located on St John's Street and a short walk from Angel tube station, will be providing stiff competition to the neighbourhood's coolest watering holes.

Formerly known as the Queen Boadicea, it has been rebranded and revamped under the stewardship of new landlords who have brought the venue firmly into the 21st century without losing its heritage. The atmosphere is still that of a quintessential English pub, but the crowd is good looking, young, and above all, well-dressed.

One of the key aspects that sets this venue apart from the competition is the well-stocked deli counter serving traditional bar snacks, such as scotch eggs, pork pies, artisan cheeses and quiches, along with a selection of hot snacks such as rabbit pie or roast veg pasties. A full menu of hot meals is also provided, but it's great to have the option of having food immediately available. The main kitchen menu contains everything you'd expect to see from a pub, from classic burgers to lamb hot pot and salmon fishcakes. However, it is the deli counter that impresses most; simple food of the highest quality in perfect sized portions to accompany your pint.

The Blacksmith and The Toffeemaker specialises in much more than beer though, with a truly phenomenal selection of gins and whiskeys. This is a bar that takes spirits very seriously, including the rather unusual 'Kamm & Sons', a ginseng spirit made from botanicals in the same way as gin. We sampled it long with bitter lemon and in an Adam and Eve cocktail with lychee and grapefruit juice. Both were refreshing and smooth, slipping down rather too easily.

If you were wondering about the name of the pub, it was inspired by Jake Thackray's 1969 song of the same name. This esoteric approach hints at he slightly offbeat and leftfield nature of the pub, but The Blacksmith and The Toffeemaker is a welcoming pub in which we hope to spend many more evenings.

292-294 St John Street, EC1V 4PA

Average price for main meal: £11
Average price for deli snack: £6
Food/drink: 5/5
Service: 4/5
Value: 4/5

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