We hit Hornchurch for some tasty tucker, awesome anecdotes and some damn decent desserts

By Katie Garner

l-r: Katie and Mike

l-r: Katie and Mike

August is one of those fabulously chilled out months; laden with promise as the unrushed end of the summer approaches hazily. With the sunlight still eeking into the evening hours and the weather trying it’s best to remain perky; August is the ideal month for a pub lunch. Our venue of choice? The Harrow in Hornchurch. It’s expansive beer garden decked out with wooden furniture is perfect for when the sun decides a decent summer is in order, but if the temperamental British weather bests delicate diners, the recently refurbished interior is no hardship whatsoever, with a stylish manor home feel, green wallpapered alcoves supporting shelves of books and candles; contrasting rust red walls home to brass framed mirrors and interesting modern art.

So, on Saturday 16th August at about 1.00pm, a gang of eight of us settled down in the quiet corner of the pub, pushing together three square tables to create a rectangular gathering. Attending we had Welsh regulars Janet and David, who actually turned up 50 minutes early, while Joel arrived just the normal 15 minutes early, with girlfriend Rhiannon in tow. Proper gent Mr Mike was also present and correct, as was American football shirt clad Nick, although he was without wife Sandra due to some painful dentistry. Frank popped by briefly for a cheeky pint before his beloved West Ham match began, and Noel sprung out of the woodwork rather late, once we had all pretty much finished eating.

l-r: Noel and Joel

l-r: Noel and Joel

Whilst tucking into my main course of BBQ Smothered Chicken, served with chunky chips and peas, the conversation was in full flow as always, as I taught Joel proper etiquette for food sharing with girls, Nick gave me practical sightseeing tips about my hen do next year in Rome, while Mr Mike showed us all a fantastic photo of himself at the Russian Embassy, picking up an award medal in place of his poorly dad.

The food on the whole was really delicious, my chicken breast decadently decked out in BBQ sauce, a rasher of bacon and Montary Jack cheese. Juicy and tender it was brill to eat, even if I did shockingly consume an entire half a small bottle of previously unopened ketchup. In my defence, you can’t eat chips without ketchup and since I don’t really like peas, they had to be drowned in the red stuff. Also, chicken breast was made to be dunked so sauce was required there too. It’s not weird really… As if I didn’t cause enough of a stir with my saucy antics, I then went and had two desserts. My first dessert came naturally after the main course, a Cookie and Cream Sundae piled with vanilla ice cream, drizzles of chocolate sauce and huge chunks of flexible chocolate chip cookie. My second dessert wasn’t until a lot later (we did stay until about 6.45pm) and was the result of mutinous peer pressure; where a few of us toyed with the idea, but I was the only one to take the plunge. The result was a really refreshing raspberry sorbet filled Summer Berry Sundae, studded with large meringue nest pieces and piled with summer berries such as raspberries and blackberries on top. I am super glad I was greedy, as it was really tasty and very different from my first dessert considering they were both sundaes.

Cookie and Cream Sundae...you know you want one!

Cookie and Cream Sundae…you know you want one!

I also pushed the boat out with a floater coffee – not something you often spot on a hot beverage menu nowadays, so I was looking forward to this. Topped with frothy whipped cream it really hit the spot and offered a nice conclusion to the meal. Price wise, you really can’t complain – my main course was under £8 and each of my sundaes was just under a fiver, so really reasonable there considering the food is pretty decent. The Harrow provides a very basic pub grub menu, however there is still something for everyone, whether you only fancy a starter or a sharer, whether you are a salad muncher or a steak destroyer, no one in the group went hungry.

A great time was had by all methinks, and it really hit the nail on the head for a catch up off court with some sociable drinks and decent fodder. Thanks to everyone who came! For more detailed info on The Harrow, check out my other blog, The Discount Deal Menu.