Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tower Hill memorial, 14th February

Nothing says romance like reminding yourself of all the poor souls who gave their lives for the war effort.

Admittedly, it wasn't our first choice of plans. We were supposed to go to the Tower of London, but after an extended and slightly boozy lunch at the Bull and Last, we didn't get there until 4, which is exactly when they stop letting anyone in. What a ridiculous closing time! Fortunately, I remembered I had wanted to take a peek at this memorial, and it was just over the road.

The memorial is to commemorate those sailors of ships and fishing vessels that lost their lives at sea during the war, ending in a watery grave. It is actually two memorials- one for WW1 and another behind it for WW2.

The one for the First World War looks a bit like a crypt. It has a long corridor and all the walls and pillars are engraved with the names of the dead sailors.

The second one is more like a little garden, again the walls are inscribed with the names of those lost, but interspersed with reliefs of mythical sea dwelling creatures. It's very pretty, and quite a nice place to stop for a moment if you're that way inclined.

I had passed the memorial countless times, but its quite unobtrusive and you are naturally drawn to look at the Tower, which overshadows it. Next time you're in the area, give it some attention.

Now, I know the Bull and Last isn't on my List, but while I'm here I might as well say a few words about it. 

It is superb. A gastropub in the true sense of the word, in that it feels like a proper pub, and serves stupendous food. We outdid ourselves in our gluttony. We shared the best charcuterie board, ever. It consisted of: duck rillette, duck prosciutto, chicken liver pate, hamhock terrine, and pig's head. All this was accompanied by cornichons, pickled grapes, some lovely toasted bread, tartar sauce, onion chutney and kumquat chutney! We left nary a crumb.

For the main meal I had wagyu beef pie with the butteriest mashed potato you ever did see. Literally had a pool of butter on the top. Stephen had the ox cheek and lentils. The ox cheek required no more than the side of a fork to cut it.

And also, I'm almost ashamed to admit, we got a side of chips. We'd heard they rivalled those at the Fat Duck and as we're not going there any time soon thought we'd better try these. They're ridiculous. Each chip is about a quarter of a potato, but they've managed to make them both crispy and soft inside. Well, for the most part. We did find one that was a little undercooked.

We wanted to get dessert as well, but what with the alcohol (ringwood ale for him, deliciously cloying saam cabernet sauvignon for me) there just wasn't any room. Very sad.

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