London – Hackney (Borough of) – Shoreditch – Goose Island (Fourth Visit)

I perhaps need to stop coming here, but this bar is a constant delight to me. I won’t repeat all the stuff I’ve mentioned in my previous three visits (all of which I’ve written up, to ensure people can be surprised and delighted with my ramblings). I booked a table for tonight, and they dealt with that helpfully by e-mail, although I didn’t really need to book as it was very quiet. I was offered a choice of table (as in pretty much any table in the entire place), but I sat at the rear bit for the first time, next to some of their brewing equipment.

Some more of the decor…. The service was, as ever, engaging, knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. For a central London bar to be this consistently reliable is an achievement in my admittedly slightly irrelevant opinion.

In London, and in other Tier 2 areas, it’s essential to order a substantial meal with any alcoholic drink. So, I ordered buttermilk chicken strips and they were delightful, a light coating which was soft and not overly crunchy, with tender chicken. The BBQ sauce added flavour and richness, the spring onions some extra texture. The staff member explained that they’ve reprinted the menu to show which dishes are classed as substantial meals and it’s evident they’re staying firmly within the rules and the spirit of the rules. They don’t class chips as a substantial meal.

But, putting the food to one side, I’d had my eye on one beer all day, which was the Big Trouble in Little Gateshead from The River Brew Co. up in Gateshead. The reviews were very positive on Untappd, although I was nervous about a 14% stout, as too much alcohol can be just too rich and hide any flavours. This one was decadence in a glass, and I shall do my flowery words again which likely go too far. But, there were different flavours, an initial creamy taste, rich in body, but with sweet afternotes and that ABV didn’t hide anything. It remained a powerful drink though, one that allowed me to sip it for the best part of an hour. All a third of a pint of it. Perhaps I need to get out more.

As a bonus, the drink was £5 for a third of a pint. To my delight though, Amex have started to operate another Shop Small, so I got £5 off the bill. So, thank you very much Amex for funding this rather beautiful stout. And Goose Island didn’t disappoint me at all. I think I might go back. Again.