Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ye Olde Mitre - hark back to the good olde days

There are so many gastropubs around these days that it's a refreshing change to go somewhere that is resolutely stuck in a pub time warp, selling pickled eggs and brimming tankards of ale to a largely male clientele. And when such a visit involves a trip to Cambridgeshire without leaving central London, so much the better. Ye Olde Mitre is hidden away in an implausibly narrow passageway off Ely Place -- one-time home to the Bishop of Ely and thus ( apparently) part of Cambridgeshire. There are two entrances to the pub, one leading to the tiny front room and the other to the slightly roomier back one, with the bar in the middle. The dark wood panelling on the walls is decorated with pictures of English kings (including Henry VIII looking nothing like Jonathan Rhys Meyers from the latest BBC adaptation) and a notice proclaiming that Santa will be visiting on December 4 (yay!). Our pints of Deuchars (£2.85) are very well kept. It's the kind of place where you get chatting to the landlord and a few of the tables look like regulars. The food on offer is wonderfully simple. We try a cheese and onion toastie for £1.50 -- cut into little triangles and pungent with raw onion. I think the cheese is red Leicester (it's orange coloured), which isn't as good as mature cheddar, but it hits the spot and soaks up the beer and I have to be talked out of ordering another one. There's also sausage rolls, sausages and even giant gherkins (60 pence!) on offer. I am smitten, and have resolved to go back next week for more Deuchars, a gherkin and a mince pie.

Ye Old Mitre, Ely Court, off Ely Place, EC1N 6SJ; Tube: Chancery Lane

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