I envy each and every one of you who have work offices in Zone 1. While you’re topping up your caffeine levels at one of your five local Prets or grabbing a fancy schmanchy sandwich or salad, I’m lining up for something far less appetising at a school dinners style canteen in Zone 4. You may roll your eyes at having to dart past people on your lunch break, but spare a thought for me… I look out the window and see a dire combination of carparks, grassy knolls, and geese… barely a soul in sight as there’s nothing to dart out for in this neck of the woods.
I miss the high street chains and the independent cafes, but most tragically, I miss having a decent pub round the corner from the office. For months I have stoically told myself that I didn’t care about the cheeky half pint at lunch time every now and then, that well deserved wine at the end of the day, or the customary Friday pub lunch, but then I was reminded of their restorative powers all over again when I visited The Square Pig. My envy and loathing increased, particularly towards those of you who work in or around Holborn.
The Square Pig is one of those pubs which ticks all my boxes – they haven’t gone overboard with swishing up the decor but it’s still a little bit chic, there are different sections to sit or loiter around, the beer and wine offerings are plentiful, and the food makes a good impression too. Actually, it was the food which convinced me that this is the perfect place for those Friday pub lunches, or those much needed after work wind-downs. It’s all well and good having a few drinks with your colleagues but in my experience, it’s safer for everyone if there is some decent pub grub on the scene too!
Friendly colleagues who like to share, or are forced to share as you’re all counting down to payday, will find ample options to dig into, none of which will break the bank. I would order your drinks and a round of the stuffed jalapeno croquettes to get you going; they’re ridiculously cheesy and moreish, you will want to make sure there is enough to have one each.
Follow that up with some sweet potato fries, and my personal favourite, the loaded fries which are topped with pulled pork, gouda, creme fraiche and a fried egg! Why the hell not, right? I would also suggest crowdpleasers like nachos with or without pulled pork or BBQ steak, and a few plates of the double fried squid. I sometimes find squid to be a little chewy and bland, but these had great bite and added zing from the kaiso seaweed and carrot salad – a surprise twist which really worked well!
If the gang are really hungry, go hell for leather and order a couple of the large sharing plates. The impressive assortment of meaty dishes warranted a moment of hush before we got our greedy mitts in there. I really liked the huge, juicy burgers, the BBQ glazed pork ribs, and even the Krakauer sausages however they have such a distinct flavour and texture that I think they either appeal or they don’t. All that was great but the best of the lot were the BBQ glazed 12 hour short ribs; elements of tenderness, stickiness, sweetness, and char all combined flawlessly together to make one finger-licking good piece of meat. Of course, if you’re not into sharing, you can get all these things separately too!
End on a sweet note (if you can manage it) with a couple of the mini desserts like lemon tart or chocolate mousse, or enjoy their signature Square Pig cinnamon sugar dusted donuts with three scrumptious dipping sauces. If you’ve followed my instructions correctly, you and the team will be absolutely stuffed. I’d even go as far as to predict that one or two of you would be suffering from the meat sweats or a food coma, or more realistically, both. But you lucky Holborn office workers will get no sympathy from me in my Zone 4 wasteland… when you’ve got a decent pub in your midst, you should make the most of it – the meat sweats or a food coma are both small prices to pay!
Do you have and your colleagues have a favourite pub near your office?
Thanks to The Square Pig for reminding what it’s like to have some decent pub grub and increasing my envy levels, but as always, all opinions are mine and mine alone!