Eat Here: The Belrose, Belsize ParkBy Alicia Grimshaw
One of the most glorious things about living in the capital is that you’re never too far away from a pub. What makes London, London, and indeed the UK, are the public houses that line the streets, avenues and leafy neighbourhoods. Pubs are the beating heart of our fair city; the bags of scampi fries that hang at the back of the bar, the ales and beers on tap, the majestic selection of Nobby’s Nuts, miscellaneous Bombay mix, and the always reliable pub fare. When a pub not only has a strong beer selection, but also a dining menu that goes far beyond the British bites, you know you’ve struck gold. And The Belrose is that place.
Newly opened on the stretch between Chalk Farm and Belsize Park, The Belrose is a pub with an on-site microbrewery, and a menu with, wait for it, authentic Roman-style pizzas. Not the most obvious of pub food choices, but when you’re presented with a plate topped with dough-y magic – it’s hard to argue.
The Belrose: The Lowdown
The general vibe at The Belrose is casual; there’s the bright and airy dining room, complete with table seating, cosy booths and relaxed sofas, as well as counter dining around the bar and open kitchen, offering prime front row seats of the clay oven. However, tucked away to the left of the bar is the separate snug area, where books and hanging plants festoon the walls and the tables are a little too close together, but we enjoy the intimacy.
The Belrose feels plucked straight from a village in the countryside, only with added sass. You’ve got everything from tinted leather furnishings, muted tartan and pinstripe accents, to mid-century Ercol-inspired seating, and most importantly, a bar stocked with house-brewed IPA, natural wines and international beers.
The Belrose: The Food
The menu features Italian inspired small plates (the culinary buzzword we can’t get enough of), plus a selection of signature dishes, and a lengthy pizza menu. The real focus here are the ingredients and local produce which run right through the menu.
We begin our feast with the burrata, served with a Sicilian tomato salad. Burrata needs no introduction: it’s the cheese of the gods, the life source of so many dishes, and mozzarella’s creamier, sexier cousin. The Sicilian salad was the ideal side star: fresh and fuss-free. And the added handful of hazelnuts added some much needed crunch to the dish.
I’ll be honest, I was worried about how a pub in NW3 could put together a Roman-style pizza, but after I locked my lips around their floppy, saucy pizza flecked with discs of pepperoni, I was quickly proved wrong. The pizzas here are the real deal – that sort of pizza where you say you can’t finish it all… but it magically seems to disappear. The thin crusts proved the perfect vechile for the farm fresh ingredients, and if you like spice, I’d recommend the Diavola with Calabrian salami and chilli.
The 28 day aged rib eye was sensational; a buttery, lovely cut of meat cooked to our liking – it just melted on the tongue. And we had to order the truffle chips for the full extravngaza. Which, by the way, were crispy and utterly moreish.
We ploughed on, not wanting to shy away from the dessert menu, we opted for the salted caramel cheesecake which came served in a twee jam jar. It almost felt like a Crystal Maze challenge as we sunk our spoon into the layers, hoping to pile our cutlery with a successful ratio of base, cheesecake and salted caramel topping. Will salted caramel ever not be on a menu? Probably not. And with a dessert like that – it shouldn’t be.
The Belrose: The Verdict
The Belrose marries together the charm of a pub with restaurant quality dishes. The staff were attentive without being intrusive, and you can really taste the expertise in every dish (which were all beautifully presented). Drop in for a casual dinner or a weekend feed and enjoy every single bite.
For more information on The Belrose, see the website here.
94 Haverstock Hill, Belsize Park, London NW3 2BD
Photo Credit: Charlie Mckay