Down to The Well

Yesterday I took some close and extended to family to visit The Well restaurant in Clerkenwell – an excellent decision if I do say so myself. My choice of venue for a late Sunday lunch was decided with help from various reviewers online and a friendly little push from Tastecard (which gives 50% off for a party of up to 8 at The Well). The result was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.

The Well 2

I received a message from my mum last week informing me that her cousins from America were coming to London, and could I, with my ‘expert knowledge’ of London (I wouldn’t go that far, but thanks mum), recommend somewhere nice to eat. I was given specifications: free parking nearby, close to Euston/Gower Street, and nothing too out of the ordinary cuisine-wise. Naturally, excited about hopefully discovering a new dining gem, I wasn’t inclined to pick purely based on location, so I began to browse.

The Well first caught my eye when scrolling on Toptable, and after viewing the menu, and praise from many diners, I was sold. Not only did it match every criteria I was looking for, I discovered I could get money off our meal too with Tastecard – this was already looking like a definite winner.

My boyfriend and I arrived at the restaurant first, discovering straight away a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The décor in the restaurant on ground floor at The Well consists of weathered wooden tables in a wide variety of sizes, a bar area with many options of drink on display, chalked specials and cocktail boards, and two walls of ceiling to floor glass windows letting in a lot of light and making the place particularly inviting. The Well downstairsDownstairs from here though (as discovered when popping to the bathroom) has a completely different vibe. Round leather stools and wall benches are dotted around, and dark stained wood is the order of the day. Yet, what you notice first in this area are the marine tanks, full of brightly coloured fish, which really bring the area the life (excuse any unintended pun). This is clearly designed as an evening venue, and looks like quite a nice one; it can be rented out for parties and corporate events.

But, back to the main event. When my parents and relatives had arrived we all began to examine the menu, and to my delight there was something for everyone. A few of us opted for starters – I am told on good authority from Phil, who chose the oysters, that they were delicious. However, it is the mains that I can’t wait to rave about. Between us we sampled the full variety of Sunday roasts on offer: Roast rump of Cumbrian beef, Slow roast Middle White pork belly, and Roast half free range Devonshire Bronze chicken; as well as my mum and I each choosing the Roast breast of guinea fowl, confit leg ravioli, Grelot onions, heritage carrots and tops, with a Madeira jus. But I’ll start with the roasts – very generous portions (especially the chicken roast, which was undoubtedly fit for a king, and a rather large king at that) were accompanied with a wide variety of trimmings and sauces, all full of flavour and nicely cooked. The pork came with apple and thyme stuffing and an apple sauce, which I did eye-up enviously a few times, and the horseradish sauce which accompanied the beef apparently had a lovely flavour and just the right amount of kick. I was chuffed that our American guests were able to enjoy such a high quality version of a British classic. The Well 1As for my lunch, it was the confit leg ravioli, as part of the guinea fowl meal, which was the real winner of the dish. Succulent and well filled, I could have eaten it many times over. This was also the first time I had eaten guinea fowl and, particularly flavoured with the Madeira jus, it was lovely.

The service at The Well was also great. The staff were very helpful and accommodating, despite the restaurant being quite busy when we first arrived. They were even happy to let my family sit at our table for hours after our meal as they weren’t fully booked until the evening. However, I can’t go without mentioning the desert. The real winner on the table was the sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and fudge ice cream, which was one of the best sticky toffee puds I’ve tried. There are many other deserts to be tempted by too, such as their Chocolate marquis with salted caramel ice cream. This actually goes for the majority of the menu, both their Sunday lunch and a la carte are full of tempting dishes that I can’t wait to try in the future.

The Well provided the perfect place for our gathering, and the food was delightful. Plus, on Tastecard it was the biggest of bargains. I couldn’t be happier.

Food, Fun

Popups passing me by

London is a city of popups. Whether these be art exhibitions, roof top cinemas or retro gaming. Yet it’s the food, cafe and restaurant popups that I follow religiously. Now I say ‘follow’, which might sound a bit peculiar when one considers that these are one off events, but I can spend hours deciding which I’d like to go next. So here’s the sad bit, I’ve never been.

Yes, I’m regularly found at street and food markets, however committing my money to these often pricey popup eating events feels far less natural to me. I think it’s usually the cost that’s the biggest bug bear. That’s not to say that the inspiring menus, often accompanied by entertainment or cuisine themed decor, wouldn’t be worth paying for – I’m sure they would. The real issue is, which one would I pick? They all look great! Ok, so in reality I’d have to choose something in my price range, but where do I set that for a one a off experience? As you can tell, it’s half wanting to splash out, yet at the same time reminding myself that it’s not the sensible thing for a humble student to do, which has prevented me thus far from attending one of these days or nights of creatively mastered indulgence.

grub club

My favourite website for browsing the latest unique food popup events is Grub Club. They work with the chefs whos events they feature, helping with organisation and finding venues. Reading through what they have on offer always has my mouth watering. The latest event that has caught my eye is H.M.S Plate and Skaker Docked in Bermuda, in which not only are you served cocktails and food to match, but taught how to make each cocktail as well.

the hangover club presents good eggThis type of one off dining experience is alongside as their more regular events such as The Hangover Club presents The Good Egg serving breakfast/brunch. At £8 it’s not too expensive for a meal out, especially if you’re used to London prices, and the description of breakfast burritos, exotic shakshuka and healthy egg white omelettes with a long list of detox and re-tox beverages appeals to me, but I think what I’m looking for with this one is an excuse to go. The morning after I celebrate my 21st perhaps, that could do nicely, lets just hope it’s still running come November!

Christabel's mad hatter brunch partyChristabel’s Mad Hatter’s Brunch Party is another that I can’t wait to get some friends together for. Sad to have missed August’s offering, perhaps I can catch the one on 15th September. This Alice in Wonderland inspired tea party looks quirky, cute and fun – I want ‘brunch fit for a king and a mad hatters cocktail!’

But reems of these popups come and go, passing me by; so far I’m missing out on experiencing all those culinary delights! And so there it is, the popup bites back – do it now or you might regret it later!