Post Wimbledon dinner at The Fire Stables

So this week I’ve been in post-Wimbledon withdrawal. Yes, it really is a thing! For a fortnight you spend way too long in front of the TV and the sound of tennis balls being hit rings in your ears. And then suddenly it’s all gone. Well the tournament is anyway.

Of course Wimbledon is also a place and that’s around all year. I particularly love Wimbledon Village. It’s believed to be the original nucleus of Wimbledon with documentary evidence of the area going as far back as 967. I’m sure those locals wouldn’t recognise their little village in 2017 –  abuzz with cafes, restaurants and quirky shops. A lot of the players rent houses here for the tournament and during that magical fortnight the place is heaving. I think the eating establishments heave a collective sigh of relief (after counting up their money with glee) when things calm down to normal.

Anyway, what better way to get over withdrawal symptoms than to enjoy dinner in the Village. Tonight we’re visiting The Fire Stables which is on Church Road, the main road leading up to the Village from the legendary courts.

It’s a bright contemporary space with stone floors and exposed brick walls. At the front glass doors open up the restaurant to the street and Wimbledon life. Perfect for a warm summer evening. There’s a cosier section at the back with leather banquettes and glowing lamps.

The food is modern British using seasonal local ingredients with an emphasis on fish. There’s a good selection chalked up on the blackboard, including crab, lobster, salmon, hake, monkfish, sea bass and sea bream. The comprehensive menu also offers good meat options, including steak. Our choices were pretty fish-focussed.

The classic prawn cocktail came retro-style in a large stemmed glass.

Fire Stables: prawn cocktail

An abundance of prawn cocktail

My seaside extravaganza of a starter included scallops, lobster bisque, samphire and a crab fritter. The tastes of the sea in a bowl – the crab fritter was particularly good – crunchy outside, soft inside and full of fishy flavours.

Fire Stables: scallop starter

Fishy joy with crabs and scallops in a lobster bisque

Fishermans pie was baked and topped with buttery mashed potatoes. Served in a stylish pan with a side of greens.

Fire Stables: fish pie

Creamy fishermans pie topped with golden mash

For my main I moved away from the fish options. I don’t know why but I seem to be ordering pork a lot in restaurants these days. Maybe because it’s so good. Today’s dish was described as T-bone of pork, so I was kind of expecting a bone but instead got these lovely chunks perfectly cooked and served on a warm puy lentil salad with apple puree and apple crisps.

Fire Stables: pork and lentils

Tastily tender pork on a bed of lentils and pureed apple

I couldn’t resist ordering this side of peas, broad beans, shoots and goats curd. It’s got to be the sweetest combination of vegetables you can get – like a taste of sunshine.

Fire Stables: vegetable side

Sweet and crisp summery vegetables

The desserts definitely helped with Wimbledon withdrawal – well, they brought all the flavours of Wimbledon back to me. The Pimms jelly was served with raspberry sorbet, strawberries and shortbread. Now there’s something I’m definitely making one hot summer day – bring on the Pimms jelly!

Fire Stables: Pimms Jely

The flavours of Wimbledon in a dessert

The strawberry and cream Eton mess was served with lemon sorbet. You can’t have Wimbledon without strawberries and cream after all – around 30,000kgs are eaten of them during the fortnight – I’m surprised there are any left!

Fire Stables: Eton Mess

Creamy meringue with strawberry topping

To finish off it seems appropriate to leave you with an image of the King of Wimbledon. Roger Federer notched up his eighth win this year – the only man in history ever to claim so many. Roger we love you!

Today’s price point

Three courses for two people cost £104 without wine or service.

The Fire Stables is at 27-29 Church Road, Wimbledon SW19.

 

A visit to Wimbledon and the “new” Fox and Grapes

We’ve been going to the Fox and Grapes on the edge of Wimbledon Common for years. It’s always been a great little pub with a good wine list, tasty food and loads of locals and their dogs lying by the fire in the winter (the dogs, that is).

It was taken over by Claude Bossi (from the 2-Michelin-star Hibiscus restaurant) in February 2011 and is managed by his brother Cedric. I’ve been meaning to go back again ever since then. Our friend Eddie’s birthday earlier this week gave us the perfect excuse.

First impressions were quite wow! It looks the same but different, if that makes sense. Decor has been tweaked and it looks more like a restaurant than a pub now, all decorated in lovely, neutral colours.

The menu is very interesting, kind of traditional English pub fare but with a slightly different interpretation. I really liked it.

My first starter (I ended up having two starters and one dish off the bar snack menu) was one of the nicest dishes I’ve had this year. Crushed peas wrapped in a beautifully salty piece of Speck and served with a wonderfully soft poached egg and sweet  leaves. Such a perfect combo of flavours and textures, I’d go back there for this alone.

On the list for my favourite starter of the year

On the list for my favourite starter of the year

The Cornish whitebait came displayed on an arty board, inside a mini frying cage. These have been around for a while now but I still love them. I totally get mini stuff. It was crispy and tasty with that beautiful fishiness that only whitebait has and served with aioli. Quite impressed with the size of the portion, too, it was pretty substantial for a dish listed on the bar snacks section of the menu.

Crispy, fishy whitebait with garlic mayo, the perfect finger food to eat at the bar

Crispy, fishy whitebait with garlic mayo,
the perfect finger food to eat at the bar

Also one of the bar snacks is the Haggis scotch egg, served with piccalilli. (Is piccalilli one of the hardest words to remember the spelling of? May be just me but I always get those lls the wrong way around).

The highly flavoursome coating was lovely and crunchy and when I cut it in half, the egg just oozed out. The picalilli had a real tang to it, the perfect mix with the rich haggis and egg. Turning into a bit of an eggy night for me!

scotch egg

Yummy haggis scotch egg with zesty picalilli, can it get more British?

The menu seems to change regularly, depending on seasonality as they use local ingredients as far as possible. This pork dish which was served with amazing mash and veg had meat so soft and luscious you barely had to chew it.

pork

Beautiful pork with mash and veg, how I love soft food

Other dishes on offer include English Brown ale battered haddock, triple cooked chips (totally yummy) and mushy peas; great burgers and a selection of steaks.

A thoroughly enjoyable night out. The place definitely feels more like a restaurant than a pub now. Having said that, the bar is still central to the layout and there were still locals in there with their dogs which I always love about English pubs. Yes, I am the sad person going up to say hello to all the dogs! Dogs make life better, what can I say?

The Fox and Grapes is at 9 Camps Road, Wimbledon Common. You don’t need to have a dog to go there! Oh, and the service is great, relaxed, efficient and with a lot of charm.