Despite spending most of my working week in London’s west end, with a bit of free adult time there really isn’t anywhere else I’d rather hang out. It has been a few weeks since our last expedition to Soho and at the risk of being predictable first stop was the French House in Dean Street for a couple of pastis. Now while I like the French House it does get very crowded so after two we headed down through Soho to
The Coach and Horses for a pint before wandering up Greek street to the Gay Hussar
The Gay Hussar has a really interesting story. The founder Victor Sassie was half Swiss and half Welsh, but trained in Budapest (where he worked for MI6 during the Second World War) where he married a local girl. The Hussar used to be the watering hole of choice for the Labour Party, back when they believed in that little thing called socialism, and the walls are festooned with caricatures of people like Robin Cook, Michael Portillo, Mo Mowlam, Will Self and Keith Waterhouse. George Brown, the former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party was once chucked out of here for being pissed and groping a lady customer, but its place in history (and infamy) was assured when Tony Blair was offered the leadership of the Labour Party there after the death of John Smith in 1994.
Anyway on to the food. To start I had the Pacolt Hering (herring is sour cream), a beautiful proper herring fillet unlike the sprats they serve in Loch Fyne garnished with red, yellow and green peppers, Mab had the Hortobagyi Husos Palacsinta (chicken pancake in paprika sauce) while Nick had the Liba-Sertes Pastetom (pork and goose pate). My fish was really nice. for mains Mab and I had the Fustolt Libamel (smoked goose with solet and red cabbage)
The goose comes on top of the solet, which is a bean paste and both are served in a deep fried potato basket. It was really delicious with the red cabbage providing a sharp counterpoint to the goose. Nick had the Kacsasult (crispy roast duck) which came in a very generous helping and looked delicious.
For me the meal was finished off with Chestnut puree laced with rum while Mab had the Turos Palacinta or sweet cheese pancakes, followed by a glass of apricot palenka, otherwise known as Hungarian firewater.
Complete with service, a bottle of house wine and coffee the damage came to £122 after the 20% discount for our loyalty card. (apply at the Hussar’s website.
As the pubs were still open when we waddled out of the Hussar we went back to the Coach and Horses for a pint. Things were beginning to swing around the piano despite Betty’s absence. Aside from old favourites like The Lambeth Walk and My Old Man, her substitute manged to pull off a rousing Bohemian Rhapsody, which is no mean feat for a pub pianist!