Well it has all been rather dramatic, sudden and a cut-throat business in the E17 pub world this week.
Our lovely local pub on the high street,The Chequers, recently refurbished and managed by Antic Ltd over the last six months, put out a twitter message on 13 July to say ‘due to unforeseen circumstances” it was closed for the weekend. Very mysterious! Thankfully the pub did reopen on Wednesday night much to the relief of #awesomestow twitterati.
So what really happened? Antic announced today that they had the lease and were promised the freehold but apparently were guzumped at the eleventh hour – what a real shame after all their love and effort. They remain committed to Walthamstow and are looking for a new premises but it needs to be ‘large, Victorian or older, be closed, full of character and in a great central location’. So if you know of another place similar to The Chequers then you can find them @Antic_London
Putting Antic’s really awful experience aside, we are excited about the pedigree of the new kids on the block. They own The Lock Tavern (Camden) – good memories of their Sunday lunches. Even closer to home, The Three Crowns (Stoke Newington) which is a favourite destination for a lovely Sunday morning walk over the marshes. They have a well selected wine list, seasonal food, and a good vibe. They also own Pub in the Park (London Fields) another fab on trend pub and The Shacklewell Arms (Dalston) which is the only one we haven’t tried – must add to our list to check out.
Of course we had to go for a nosy around on Wednesday after work just to check it was still there and was a functioning pub. Not surprisingly given they have only been kicking around for a few days we can report that very little has changed although not sure if the baby football machine was there before – maybe we missed it. All the previous Antic staff were sitting together in the beer garden.
So what about the food? Our foodie expectations are always high. But as the saying goes the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so we headed over to sample their menu this evening.
Verdict? We shared a slate of potted Dorset crab with plenty of capers, lemon, salad leaves, chard and white toast. The ramekin was too large and shallow so basically you got loads of butter which is good if you like butter and 1cm layer of crab – it pleaded for seasoning but this will be a fab dish with a bit more attention.
The grilled marinated lamb cutlets (£11) were amazingly tender and delicious but as a dish it was confused. Wasn’t sure whether they were aiming for Americana or Greek-style as the lamb was served with tenderstem broccoli, spinach, cubes of pumpkin and feta (not sure it really was feta) in a honey mustard dressing. The honey mustard with lamb and the cheese didn’t work together.
The other foodie was happier with her fresh chicken Caesar salad (£8) – cos lettuce, Parmesan, croutons and anchovies.
I know they are finding their feet so it’s probably unfair to visit early on in their first week, but we have to be consistent – we did the same to The Bell! Rather than having a mean-streak we’re just eager to see what’s on offer and spread the word. If you live in E17 then be part of it, you don’t need to head to Dalston, Hackney or Soho for lovely food and great vibe – it’s here folks on our doorstep, really wanting to be here so we just need to support it! Once they sort out their menu this place will be a winner. All we can do is feed back, keep supporting and welcome them to the stow!
The Chequers, 145 High Street, Walthamstow, E17 7BX
Opening Times: Mon-Thurs 5-11pm, Fri 5pm-midnight, Sat 12pm -midnight, Sun 12-11pm
Food served 5-10pm Mon-Fri, 12-10pm Sat, 12-5pm Sun.