The Belrose in Belsize Park: A warm and unforgettably tasty retreat for the winter season
Cosy interiors and fresh produce are the two defining elements of The Belrose. Facing Haverstock Hill, the new gastropub overlooks the neighbourhood with its spacious venue, guaranteeing the comfortable atmosphere of a pub while offering serious food to enjoy.
The extensive beer menu is almost an embarrassment of riches: lager, IPA and ales, from British brews to German and Mexican labels. Our pick comes from Hawaii, the citrusy Hanalei IPA Kona, which had a light taste. The wine list is also generous, but we were most attracted to the cocktails. From a selection ranging from classic martinis to more original concoctions, we opted for the Belrose Mews: bringing together the flavoured Hayman’s Old Tom Gin Campari with light lychee and rose syrup, the drink is topped with champagne to add a fine sparkling touch.
As a gastropub, the Belrose promises to take extra care of its food menu. The lonely burger option, then, is a mere consequence of giving more space to a wider range of dishes: small plates, pizzas and a good variety of mains. The only regret would be to run out of space to have them all.
We began our meal with the Crispy Squid. With this first serving, we already had a sample of how The Belrose raises the bar. The fried seafood was not greasy or heavy, but perfectly seasoned with chilli and lemon aioli. What made us fall in love with the place was the exquisite freshness of the ingredients. Particularly unforgettable were the Cornish Mussels (available as a small or large portion): the dish released the full taste of the pulpy molluscs, further enriched by boiling them in white wine. The crunchy sourdough coming with the bowl was the ideal accompaniment.
The meaty courses came next. For the chilli lovers, the Aged Beef Burger is unequivocally the go-to pick. Though disguised under the appearance of a plain burger, the generous splash of chilli – sandwiched between the cheese and pickled onions – supplied the hot intake capable of reviving all the senses. Of the same succulent standard was the 28-Day-Aged Ribeye. With every bite melting in the mouth, the steak didn’t need any extra seasoning, and indeed left us rather too speechless to describe the satisfaction.
More sophisticated was the Charred Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad. This dish made us think twice about all the bland cauliflower-based recipes tried recently. The elaborate combination of elements – including hidden raisins and curry oil as the finishing – was a rich discovery, with the sweet ingredients balancing the burnt vegetable. The Truffle Mac & Cheese turned out to be another delight: the black ceramics were soon empty as the pasta went down like water.
As the first starter anticipated, the sides offered the same light frying – which was not oily at all – allowing us to enjoy the potato in every skinny fry.
The only negative note, sadly, was at the conclusion of our meal. Seduced so far by the excellent foodie pairings, we enthusiastically dug our spoons into the finely presented Tiramisù, only to find a cheesy, firm cream. The Salted Caramel Cheesecake, served in a pot matching the other dessert, was slightly better for the amaretti crumble topping, but we found the same unusual thickness of the cream hard to take in.
With the cold season knocking on the door, the warm dining space of The Belrose is a sure bet for a cosy retreat. The superb quality of the ingredients used in every dish combined with the extensive drinks list left us with little doubt that this was gastropub experience worth our appreciation.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Maria Barrios
To book a table at The Belrose, 94 Haverstock Hill Belsize Park NW3 2BD, call 0207 2670 033 or visit their website here.