Pub #4: The Lord Clyde

So, my friend James is currently in town, and on his second night in I corralled him into meeting with friends Lucy and Jim at the New Rose on Essex Road.  Unfortunately for us, a large number of people had the same idea of meeting up at the New Rose as well, so, after everyone finished their drinks (I abstained, being a slow drinker), we moved on for greener pastures that weren’t quite taken over by holiday revelers.

Lucy and Jim led us to The Lord Clyde, also on Essex Road, but more towards St Paul’s Road than Islington Green. They said the pub was a good one, and the atmosphere was certainly inviting, especially considering the nice seats we managed to score around a small table in sight of the pub’s Christmas tree.  The place was less crowded than the pub we left, and though there was a table of folks having their holiday party next to us.  Considering it was the 22nd of December, I’m sure many pubs in London were playing host to at least one holiday party for a club or office or group of friends.

We made our food orders–Lucy and Jim first, then James, and then I last–grabbing our drinks whilst ordering our food as well.  I went with a pint of Aspall’s Suffolk Cider, with homemade ravioli pulled from the chalkboard specials as my dinner.  My total came up to £12.50, which somewhat puzzled me, because the number indicating the price for the ravioli looked like an eight… which would have made my pint £4.50.  Later on, I found out the writer of the boardwrites, as he put it, “Germanic Nines,” where the 9 looks more like an 8 with part of the lower half erased.  So, the ravioli entree was £9, the pint of cider, £3.50.

Lucy and Jim got their meals in good time, and they looked wonderful.  Lucy had gotten a fish dish from the special that looked amazing, and Jim’s burger looked serious, a “proper burger.”  After they had finished, James and I still hadn’t gotten our meals, and one of the staff went in to check up on the orders.  After a bit, James was presented with his bangers n’ mash, which was something on his “List of things to do in London.”  It looked like quite a nice meal as well, very neatly presented.

The food I ordered, however, was still not accounted for, and I was informed by the same staff member that, yes, there *was* an issue with my order, and that it was being made, sorry.  Forgive me this digression, but the American in me was wondering if I would get the dish for free, or maybe get a free drink to compensate for my wait.  But nah, it’s not really like that in the UK, or at least in London with my limited experience.  No free desserts or coffee on the house for my wait, alas.  Just an assurance that my dish was on its way.

When it did arrive, though, it was a disappointing sight in comparison to the dishes received by my friends.  The ravioli was in a soup of sauce, covered with cheese.  The pasta itself was weakly-filled with butternut squash, but I couldn’t taste it for the amount of sauce it was drowned in.  The portion seemed rather small–Lucy commented that it looked as if they had split one dinner-sized portion into two–and it really wasn’t anything special.  Okay, I understand that ordering pasta at a pub isn’t the best choice, as pasta can be easily made at home.  But the vegetarian options for main dishes on The Lord Clyde’s food menu really consisted of one dish–a roasted veg entree–and then there was the vegetarian ravioli on the chalkboard.  That was it.

It was a shame, really, to have been the recipient of the “ravioli FAIL” dish.  I think even just a side of garlic bread would have ameliorated it.  Yeah, I’ve had worse pasta served up before elsewhere, and I’ve had small portions of pasta served elsewhere (Marquis Cornwallis of Marchmount, I am looking at you), but from the evidence of the menu and the resulting vegetarian dish, it would seem to me the cook at The Lord Clyde simply doesn’t care to make vegetarian food, even though in London there is a clear demand for it, since everyone seems to have a vegetarian friend, housemate or boy/girlfriend here.

Unless the menu changes, I don’t see myself eating at The Lord Clyde again, although my friends of the carnivorous ilk may enjoy good burgers and bangers there.  The environment is nice, and I wouldn’t mind having a pint at The Lord Clyde, though it’ll probably be on the suggestion of someone else.

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