“The Tavern on the Hill”:https://www.tavernonthehill.co.uk/, sits on top of Higham Hill overlooking Walthamstow in East London. In 2004 it hit the headlines with “The landlord of the Tavern on the Hill pub, dubbed Britain’s Hardest in a TV programme, is back from serving in Iraq and says he is determined to eradicate the pub’s undeserved East End, bad boy image”. It’s also been known during the years as The Warrant Officer and Higham Hill Tavern.
Having reopened recently after a lockdown refurbishment, we were keen to visit as it was run by my partner’s Grandad during the second world war, when allegedly, his party piece was standing on a crate of Guinness and singing The Spaniard That Blighted My Life.
The pub is now operated by the local Wild Card Brewery with the kitchen being run by local chefs, “Oishi Don”:https://www.oishidon.co.uk/. The website claims a menu of Japanese and traditional pub foods during the evening and Sunday lunches, whilst Friday and Saturday mornings serve up “an indulgent antipodean brunch”.
We’d already made a reservation for Friday at 12.30pm some weeks before, and subsequently booked our second Covid-19 vaccination for that morning, so it turned into a fitting celebration.
After providing track and trace details and sanitising hands, we were led through the pub to a paved area running down the side and then through a brick arch to a larger area behind the pub. The wooden picnic benches and tables were functional rather than comfortable and a few pot plants would have made the area look a little less stark. Although some tables had red sunshades, if the weather was rainy, they wouldn’t offer much protection.
We tried to download the menu using the QR code fixed to the table but failed miserably as did the friendly member of staff who resorted to taking our order in the old-fashioned way. The downside was it was difficult to fully see the range of drinks on offer, but we both plumped for pints of cider which were said to be fizzy with lovely apple flavours. The slightly cloudy pints were delicious.
Roy chose the Breakfast Burger, a brioche bun filled with a sausage patty, bacon, fried egg, avocado, mushroom ketchup and tomato relish. Whilst I’m not vegetarian, a mixture of roasted cauliflower, roasted sweet potato hummus, poached egg, feta, tahini yogurt, balsamic glaze with a quinoa, kale & pomegranate salad and zaatar was delicious especially with the optional very spicy chorizo.
Both the fried and poached eggs were cooked to perfection with set whites and runny yolks and the dishes were beautifully displayed on completely flat white plates.
Despite cloudy weather we really enjoyed our vaccination celebration and would like to return in the evening to try some of the chef’s Japanese food.