January 15th, 2011
On Saturday afternoon, I went for a drink with two friends called Katie, at the Spurstowe Arms. We ordered a bottle of Temperanillo, which turned out to be rather good and only cost £15 (that’s a good pub price). The chips were a side order with mayonnaise, but proved to be excellent.
Apparently, chips originally came from Belgium in 1680 – they would seem to have been introduced into Britain by the 1870’s. Sometimes I wonder what Europeans ate before Sir Walter Raleigh and the discovery of the New World. Potatoes seem to have become one of our top food staples within about 400 years.
I’m not normally one to rave about chips, so these must be really good! The chips themselves were thick cut and knobbly, so they must have been boiled and bashed a little to get that texture. They were also quite crispy, so I’d imagine that they had been fried more than once and possibly par boiled before hand. Heston Blumenthal advocates cutting the potatoes and then boiling them until they start to soften, before cooling and refrigerating. He then deep fries them until they start to look “dry”, but not brown, before again cooling and refrigerating. Finally, Heston deep fries the cold chips until golden. His chips are reputed to be excellent – I’ll report back when I’ve eaten at the Fat Duck.
The Spurstowe Arms does a full gastropub menu – the other food looked to be very good and the atmosphere was buoyant without being too noisy.