Unless you happen to live under a rock, you may have noticed that a few weeks ago, we had Valentine’s Day. However, rather than go for the archetypal dinner for two at one of London’s usual romantic hotspots, Katie was kind enough to book us in for a cosy lunch for two at Maggie Jones’s. This forty-year-old haunt ticked all the boxes; atmosphere, the promise of great comfort food and, probably most importantly for us, a dog-friendly policy. It was to be a Valentine’s Day for three.
Behind the slightly unassuming frontage lies one of London’s best hidden gems. As you step inside, you are hit by the friendliness of the staff, the warmth of the candlelit tables and a ceiling adorned with a plethora of antiquities that wouldn’t look out of places on the eponymous road show. There is wood everywhere; from the beautiful bannisters and the impressive tabletops, through to the knobbly floorboards that may test under foot, but add a real charm to the place.
Seated at the table, and with Pepi snuggled up on the floor, we were served the most delicious freshly baked bread alongside our drinks. Opting for the set lunch menu (£19 for two courses, £23 for three), we were not disappointed. For starters, I had the Duck Liver Pate which was full of flavour and had the most incredible texture. While that was certainly filling enough, I did have to help Katie finish her colossal Cauliflower Cheese. The molten mass of decadence was unbelievably tasty; the cheese was perfectly cooked and it had those little crunchy bits around the side that we all love.
Then it was on to mains, and what a main course it was. Usually we both choose different dishes so we can try more of a menu, but this time it was a unanimous decision from the both of us; the Roast Pork Belly with Apple Sauce. Again, the portion size was more than generous, but it was the flavor of this dish that really stood out. The beautiful pork belly was accompanied by the sweetest apple sauce, served with a boat full of dark gravy and fresh greens. It’s the small details that really impress me, and the crisped side of the pork belly was scored to make it easier to slice up into mouthfuls. In the peas, there were the tiniest bits of bacon that really added to the flavour. It was a standout dish, and arguably up there with one of the best meat dishes I have ever eaten in London.
More than willing to part with another £4 for dessert, we had to admit defeat. With full bellies and smiles on our faces, it was the perfect place to spend a Valentine’s Day lunch. If you’re looking for a romantic meal or just want a cosy meal with friends, I highly recommend checking out Maggie Jones’s here.