Restaurant Review of Manor House – Wanstead, East London – somewhere you’ll find all of life’s necessities. For Winston Churchill apparently that was:
“Hot baths, cold Champagne, new peas and old Brandy.”
Today is Winston Churchill’s birthday. If this legendary British politician and Nobel laureate was still alive, he’d be 140 years old. In actual fact, this coming January marks the 50th anniversary of his death.
The reason for this particular Winston-themed post is that recently I was invited to check out a new gastro-pub, Manor House in Wanstead, the building of which used to be Churchill’s local conservative club of 60 years.
Leafy Wanstead is a couple of tube stops beyond Stratford, East London, a location which is becoming increasingly popular for Londoners to put down roots.
The food is first class with a rustic twist and the ambience is reminiscent of a central London eatery but with the relaxed air of an outer-London gastro pub. It’s a big, bold and brilliant building which spans over 2 – 3 floors and can accommodate large gatherings including wedding parties. To cater for a beautiful pub of this scale is a kitchen team to boot and there’s no surprise that the Chefs at Manor House have earned some seriously noteworthy stripes over the years, with experience from Michelin-stared restaurants across London and Barcelona.
First things first. Manor Hosue makes one of the best coffees this side of town:
Winston was a man who liked his food and so this post is dedicated to him. He was a fan of French haut cuisine and was partial to traditional foods such as fowl, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. He preferred clear “limpid” soups as opposed to thick creamy ones. He liked shellfish more than fish and Stilton more than sweet desserts, but could be easily persuaded to take both of the latter. To finish: cigars, scotch and brandy. Dinners created in his memory at places such as The Savoy have included things like: raw oysters, Petit Marmite, Beef & Yorkshire and Stilton and dessert.
He once wrote a letter to his brother from Hoe Farm where he was staying, stating that he had all of life’s necessities: “Hot baths, cold Champagne, new peas and old Brandy”
I didn’t try any roast beef at Manor House that day but I did taste this beautifully fragrant dish – a trio of heritage beetroots, Rosary goats cheese, conference pear, walnuts and honey vinaigrette.
And this delicious bouillabaisse-style fish course with clams, caper berries and crushed potato, was incredibly creamy and light both at once.
And err, yeah, my vegetarianism sort of took a nose dive for the day. (All for research purposes you understand.)
Winston once insisted that desserts be expressive. It is rumoured although not confirmed that he once said: “Take away this pudding, it has no theme”. He wound’t have been disappointed with this final offering: A comfortably warm, rich chocolate brownie with chunky hazelnuts, peanut ganache and vanilla ice cream.
If you live in other parts of London, Manor House is well worth the tube trip out East. Or if like me, you’re from Norfolk and travel via the East Coast train line, then this is a relaxing way to end a day-trip into London, minus the hustle and bustle – just embark from Stratford, instead of Liverpool St.
A big thank you to Mark and Andy for hosting an awesome afternoon tasting and talking about food. Tip of the hat to you both.
For more info please go to: www.manorhousewanstead.com or call 0208 530 2998
9:30am – 11pm Mon – Thurs
9:30am – 12am Fri
10am – 12am Sat
10am – 10:30pm Sun
Churchill Source: The best source on Churchill’s favorite foods is Georgina Landemare’s RECIPES FROM NO. 10 (London:Collins 1958, reprinted 1959). She was the Churchill family cook and accompanied them to Downing Street. The book is scarce but may be obtainable from a large library or inter-library loan.