Football. Over 9 months of matches from Saturday to Monday, and for those of us lucky enough, Tuesday’s to Thursdays too – don’t you just love it when it’s football season?
Last season I paid literally no attention. Well when your other half’s team isn’t doing so well, it’s not the best experience – mood swings and shouting at TV as though the team can hear is pretty much guaranteed. But this season I promised I’d make more effort again. And there’s one thing which will always get me to watch a game – pub food.
The Horatia quickly became a favourite if we were in the area (Alex’s mum lives in Highbury), with it’s friendly service, reasonable prices, and comfy setup. The interior is pretty minimalist, with stripped back wooden tables and booths, and deep red leather sofas and chairs, which adds to the charm. Those sofas are the one for match day, up close to the screen.
The Horatia host residencies for big names on the street food circuit. Right now it’s Stokey Bears – the rustic burger joint from Stoke Newington.
The menu isn’t overly complicated with seven different burgers including one chicken option and one veggie, but I was still indecisive – beef, chicken or veggie is a tough decision! Fries can be ordered as a side to any burger (slightly cheaper), or by themselves as a sharer portion, to which there are a few different choices. There are also wings and mac’n’cheese balls on the menu, but unfortunately they were out of the balls, at which news I was devastated.
The match was pretty engaging, which luckily took the edge off the wait – although it was also probably the reason there was one, as many of the punters around us received food too. Watching the trays of fries approach the table was enough to build anticipation.
The burgers lived up to all hopes. Thick and juicy patties, rich in flavour, the burgers were tender and just keeping it together. Buns were of the fluffy white variety, soft, allowing the juices from the burger seep in. No fancy schmancy basics are needed here.
The Angry Bear, a beef burger with a light spread of The Ribman Holy F*** Sauce and small dollop of Helluvapino Relish, was a tasty flavour combo. With a slight kick of heat, it wasn’t overly spicy to us chilli lovers, which let the fab taste of the burger still shine through.
The Grizzly Bear, beef served with cheese, bacon and bacon jam, took my top spot. The pieces of bacon were crispy, giving a great mix of textures. The bacon jam, that sweet yet salty combo which always works so well, makes this burger what it is – incredibly delicious.
The cheesy fries, skinny and crispy, ordered as a side to share, lacked cheese but did the job once drizzled in ketchup and mustard. They were devoured through pure hanger, from both parties, and we almost didn’t miss the cheese at all.
Washed down with Camden Hells, one of my fave beers right now, it sure did satisfy that need for pub food whilst we watched Arsenal play.
At about £22 for two burgers and a sharing side of fries, it’s slightly cheaper than the average burger joint these days.
Overall, great location, friendly service (they even said thanks and bye when we left), reasonably priced for both drinks and food, I think it’s worth a visit if you’re being sucked into watching the football and fancy another reason to get out too!
Have you tried any new burgers recently?