I am a firm believer in the idea that good food should be shared, and I’ll very shamelessly let it be known that I really find pleasure in taking people’s (food) virginities. In fact, I am so often right there in the thick of it during my friends’ first times, I secretly consider myself a Casanova of sorts HAHAHA.
And so, when J mentioned that she had never had STP before (WHICH MEANS THAT, ALTHOUGH SHE IS A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE, THERE IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF MY PHYSIOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL MAKE-UP THAT SHE HAS YET TO UNDERSTAND, AS STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING RUNS IN THESE VEINS I TELL YOU!!!!!), we decided that we would make an occasion of it and have a good old Sunday lunch with our wonderful, wonderful girlies, AB and AC. (Sorry for awkz abbreviations, girls.) I really think girls meeting for a proper, stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal should be a thing. Especially since brunch is no longer strictly a gender-specific girly activity anymore.
We were going to go to Pig & Butcher at first (see posts here and here), but 1) they were fully booked 2) there was no STP!!!!!! So I decided to take the girls to the Abingdon instead.
I was first brought here by my lovely W, whom I miss dearly, and is living proof that not all lawyers are bad people (only half joking), for a second lunch post-Yashin HAHAHA. In fact, I still have photos from that day, which was almost 3 years ago! So applaud my dedication for trawling through my immense food photo collection just to find these photos, friends.
I THINK this was roast veal.
Omg!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve just realised that it was his first time having STP too! Looks like there is a pattern emerging here, ladies and gents.
The Abingdon is just a short walk away from Earls’ Court/High Street Ken tube stations. Inside, it’s really homey and welcoming. It’s bright and airy and couldn’t be further away from your idea of a stuffy old pub. Their Sunday lunch menu is very reasonably priced – 2 courses for £19.50, or 3 courses for £26.
As soon as you’ve settled down, a server will come around proffering a basket of warm bread, which is always nice. If you’re going to shove something in my face, it better be something edible.
Today, 2 of us went with the lamb, while the other 2 went with the sirloin. I don’t think it’s that hard to guess which one I went with, although I was a little torn when I saw that there was pork belly on the menu as well. All roasts are served with braised red cabbage, seasonal vegetables, duck fat roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and gravy.
The food arrived pretty quickly, which wasn’t surprising since the components of Sunday roast are usually all ready to go, and just require some quick reheat-and-assembly work.
Now, I will confess that I was not immediately hit with a sense of abundance, which is what I subconsciously tend to expect when I have Sunday roast. However, I will qualify this by saying that the portion IS reasonably generous, and you WILL be full. I just think that Sunday roasts should INTIMIDATE, as I am a glutton for punishment. (But mainly just a glutton.)
So. The meat.
You all know that lamb is my favourite meat, so I am biased as anything, and to do a comparison between the lamb and the sirloin would simply be unfair and frankly, moot. But I will do a comparison between the roast lamb at the Abingdon and the one at P&B (see post here).
For me, both were cooked to the perfect level of doneness, so that, colour-wise, the meat was rosy-pink, and texture-wise, it was buttery-soft and tender. But for me, lamb has GOT TO BE fatty. It’s a pre-requisite, and also probably why it’s my favourite meat. Fat is flavour, people. Therefore, I would have to say that I preferred the lamb at the Abingdon.
And now, the accompaniments.
The Yorkshire pudd was perhaps not as massively billowy as I would like, but it was nice and eggy. And I don’t think you can really have a bad Yorkshire pudd, to be honest. As for the roast potatoes, I liked that you could definitely taste the rosemary in the spuds, but in terms of crispness-to-fruffiness ratio, they were not as good as the P&B ones for me.
I will confess that I was not the biggest fan of their roast veg. There wasn’t a good enough balance of flavours for me, most of these vegetables being predominantly sweet. I had been really eggcited for the braised red cabbage, especially since the incredible braised red cabbage I had last winter at P&B (sorry for the constant comparison between the 2), but this didn’t live up to my expectations. This wasn’t as meltingly-tender or flavourful as I had hoped it would be.
But no matter.
BECAUSE IT WAS STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The first time, for both AC and J. And the 32498320143518075348732342459438140293410238508th time for me. AB went with the crème brûlée instead.
The crème brûlée came in a small portion, but you know you can’t have too much crème brûlée. (If I say this, then it must be true.) I think they could have made the caramelised sugar layer a bit sweeter, a bit more burnished, but the custard portion itself was lovely – rich, creamy and not too sweet. The shortbread was a good addition to have alongside, the slight savouriness of the butter preventing the whole dessert from becoming too sickly sweet.
Not that sickly sweet is always a problem. STP is sickly sweet, but it’s a sickly sweet I can live with. No, a sickly sweet I live for.
Cue Regina Spektor… You are my sweetest downfall – I loved you first, I loved you first……………………..
I will tell you very honestly that this is not the best STP in London. (OKAY, I KNOW I STILL HAVE YET TO SHARE WITH YOU WHERE I THINK THE BEST STP IS, BUT I STILL NEED TO GO RECCE. BE PATIENT. GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT.) But it is still a perfectly good rendition of it, definitely good enough to introduce to 2 STP-virgins, both of whom, I am pleased to say, really enjoyed it.
Flavor-wise, this was great, so no complaints there. AC really liked it with the clotted cream, while J mentioned that she would have preferred vanilla ice-cream instead. And I just love STP with ANYTHING – clotted cream, vanilla ice-cream, custard………………..
My tiny, tiny issue was with the texture. STP is meant to be dense but it has still got to be soft, squidgy and moist all the way through. Some recipes don’t ask for you to completely macerate the dates, and that’s fine, because I can deal with a bit of date here and there, but the problem here was more to do with uneven cooking. There were parts of this that were a little tough, easily remedied when drenched in the luscious toffee sauce, but still.
Okay. I am not seriously complaining. An STP is an STP, and I will take what I can get. I was still very much a happy child.
I mean, how can you not when faced with this????????
So yeah. I think J caught a glimpse into my soul today. We are now tight as anything HAHAHA. But no, in all seriousness, I really did have a flabulous afternoon with my wonderful girls! LOVE YOUS.
As for the rest of you, I hope you had a great weekend! Definitely do check out the Abingdon if you are in the area, and I promise I’ll do a post on Ad Cod as well soon! Actually, I’m going to P&B – again! – in a few days’ time, but I think I’ll spare you guys yet another post on it hahaha.
54 Abingdon Road, London W8 6AP
Monday to Saturday: 1230PM to 11PM
Sunday: 1230PM to 1030PM