Easter weekend was mostly spent in pub beer gardens, which was a treat, and painting chairs, which wasn’t. On Saturday we went to the Florence in Herne Hill, a fairly unremarkable pub except for the genius addition of a dedicated kids’ playroom, which allows parents to eat, drink and chat, while keeping an eye on their shouty offspring through the glass wall that separates playroom and pub garden. It’s brilliant, and I wish more pubs would adopt the idea, because Herne Hill is frankly a shag to get to.
The three pubs we went to – the others being the Stag in Hampstead and the Albion in Islington – all had one thing in common: shit food. When did pubs revert to serving deep-fried brie and overcooked roasts? I thought we’d gone beyond that one. I blame the annoying trend for British nostalgia food, but that’s another story. Anyway, we spent a lot of time eating food we could have made better ourselves, which is always a pisser when they’re charging £15-plus a main. The worst was the Albion, not just for the food, but for the service, which was downright poisonous. Never before have I seen I barman respond, “I don’t care” when a customer (rightfully) complains that he’s been waiting 15 minutes to be served. The waitress made us start a tab and, when my friend was overcharged to the tune of £25 on hers, stropped as if she was asking for the refund purely to inconvenience her. It was beyond cheeky, and not the first time I’ve had a bad experience there. It’s so annoying when pubs think that a nice garden and splash of Farrow and Ball gives them the right to behave like total arseholes. Grrr.