Thursday, 4 August 2011

Summer lunch at Wells Tavern, Hampstead

The Wells Tavern
A London friend and I realised last week that since I'd moved up to the city, we hadn't once had lunch together. When I lived in the country I came up about once a month and we'd take in an art exhibition (with an MA in History of Art she's had the uphill struggle for many years to educate me on the subject). Then there followed a long lunch where we'd sort out each other's problems, as well as cure all the ills of the world (Ok, possibly not the latter).

We had great plans to make yesterday's lunch an epic one. We'd start with cocktails on the roof of Shoreditch House. A visit to an exhibition was briefly mentioned but disgarded: we needed to TALK. Talk with lubrication.

Yesterday morning I woke up feeling very groggy. I hadn't slept a wink. My tummy was aching from the small op I'd had on Saturday. I kept thinking about the warnings I'd got from the consultant to 'take it easy'. The weather forecast for London was +30C and the thought of a crowded steaming tube up to EC1 filled me with dread. (As I write this the rain is beating down my office window - what a difference a day makes in London).

As befits a good friend, she understood, and instead booked us a table locally at Wells Tavern, just a skip and a hop away in Hampstead.

It took me much longer to walk into the village than usual, and when I arrived the heat had got into each crevice of my body. When the barman asked what I'd like to drink, the only thing I could think of was an old-fashioned Spritzer. I can't remember when I last had one, but boy did it taste good! Sitting and waiting for my friend on one of the tables outside, on the shady side of the pub, I began to feel somewhat normal again.

An arty picture of my drink - thanks to Instagram.

Wells Tavern is not the old-fashioned pub it used to be - dirty and smoke-filled. It's not quite a gastro pub either, although most of the lounge is taken up with tables with white linen draped over them. But there's a nice bar and the menu isn't too pretentious; it includes burgers as well as fresh fish and steaks.  

The bar was empty - everyone was enjoying the sunshine outside. 
The staff were incredibly accommodating when I couldn't decide whether we'd want to eat at the table inside by the window they'd reserved for us, or stay outside. They kept the window table free until we'd had our drinks and chose the relative cool of the terrace. 

We ordered a really decent bottle of French Rose and burgers without chips. The burgers came exactly as we wanted them; mine was very pink in the middle and my friend's less so.

I forgot to take a picture of the food, so here's the menu instead. (Not good enough, I know.)
We sat and talked for a couple of hours, politely left alone by the staff, until it was time for me to get back home and rest again. We didn't quite sort out all the ills in the world, but I think we sorted ourselves out.

One thing is for sure: I will not let a year pass before we have a proper lunch again!


Midlife Jobhunter said...

I like that you forgot to take a photo of the food. I would have liked to see it, but so glad you had such good conversation instead.

Helena Halme said...

Midlife Jobhunter, It's funny how I never seem to be able to remember to either take a picture of the venue or the food...

Helena xx

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Alison Cross said...

I'm like you, I NEVER remember to take a photo of the food until I've eaten most of it! I do hope that your op WAS minor and that you are not downplaying something more substantial - keyhole surgery is not always MINOR!

Feel better fast!

Ali x

Lola X said...

Great Blog! Love it!!!

Lola x

Crosby Kenyon said...

I appreciate your effort to blog even when you're perhaps not feeling your best.

Talli Roland said...

That sounds ideal, Helena. I love Hampstead!

Cathy said...

I've been to The Wells twice and both times excellent food and service. Glad you enjoyed it.