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Tom drinks in The Black Lion atmosphere

I had dinner and wine with @WhampChef in The Black Lion, West End Lane on a recent Sunday evening; I’d not had grub there for a little while and had a good reason for not cooking anything at home: laziness.

Having been blown away by the brilliant fish and chips last time, I zoned-in on sea bass on a bed of wilted kale, with roasted salsify and a sorrel & mussel cream. I say ‘zoned-in’, but in reality I take ludicrously long choosing, though on this occasion a bottle of very good Pinot Grigio helped things along.

Excellent sea bass; all the things you want – well-seasoned, perfectly cooked, with a crisp skin. And, just as importantly, a decent sized fillet it was too. Along with the cheerful, fresh-tasting chips, the dish proved a sizeable portion, illustrating that high-level pub food doesn’t have to be lightweight. The mussel cream seemed more like a hollandaise to me; but perhaps my judgement was tainted by then, as we’d pretty much merrily tanned our second bottle (a pleasing Argentine Cab Sav).

Credit too for the Lion for plenty of kale, which I love. Wasn’t quite as convinced by the salsify; the little slithers perhaps a touch underdone, though all were consumed.

@Whampchef ordered lamb, then confusion arose when beef was delivered; we sensed the waitress wasn’t sure herself, having brought along both horseradish and mint sauces! Still – no harm done, and the beef was swiftly devoured.

As with its sister pub, The North London Tavern, the Black Lion does a roaring trade (ha ha!) even on a Sunday, which makes it an uplifting location to round out a weekend. The wine list is splendid, the atmosphere lively, and it’s just a great place to have within walking distance of home.

Right, I’ve run out of stupid one-liners, so I’ll disappear now and pour myself another one of this excellent Viognier. You can’t get too much of a good thing – especially when served with plenty of piping hot chips on a cold Winter evening..

Enjoy your Christmas shopping, everyone.. Mine takes place, glass in hand, on Amazon High Street!