At times this blog reads just like a diary.  Oh, it is. If only Pepys had had micropubs and kebabs to write about rather than sermons and domestic incidents.

Back to Gidea Park,

Typical Gidea Park scene

It hasn’t changed much since my visit last year, the residents will be delighted to hear.  Sadly, that lack of change extends to the Elizabeth line (aka Crossrail) which will give Gideans (?) a direct route to the honeypots of Reading (and vice versa) when it does open next autumn.

See the source image
Sir Quinno can’t wait to ride the line to Shenfield

Meanwhile, Crossways has acquired some art.  Possibly in 1989.

Welcome to the ‘hood


To get a feel for this upmarket suburb of Romford, just look closely at the reflections in the window of the eponymous micro.


Majestic wine, golf stores and MOTs.  That’s all they need round here.  And beer.

On Sunday lunchtime the micro was peaceful, just a couple of locals in the best viewing seat in the house.

I said “Hello“. You should always say “hello”, even in London.

It’s firmly back to the original Thanet/Sidcup model for Gidea Park;

Simon will bang his head on the dangling lightbulbs, somehow

Plain furnishings, high tables, a gazillion pump clips.  Just as you expected.

What’s your favourite ?  I don’t care.

The days of wine and roses and £3 pints in micros are clearly over.

The £2.54 2/3rds

I went for the Redemption.

Used to be you went to the priest for redemption” said Mr Local.

And with that we were off, into that magical micro pub banter that is put forward as the feature that makes micros somehow worthy of our praise and tax breaks.  Lots of stuff about how superior Gidea Park was, and a very odd comment on my entrance;

You strode in here looking very confident, like you knew what you were doing.  All you needed was a Peter Stuyvesant”

Great couple.

Top pub couple

Oh, and that Redemption Kazbek was tremendous, even after I’d been sucking strepsils for an hour, NBSS 3.5+.

Shame about the hand wash though.

Big Hand Wash taking over micros

With a while to the next train, I took advantage of the blue skies and looked for the heart and soul of Gidea Park (a B-side of Joy Division medley from 1985).

Big tree

I found that heart back at the station,where I was suddenly hungry.

This place made a claim to be the UK’s café,

Bold claim

so I went for the slightly less boastful kebab shop.  I have no idea if Balgore is a place, person or concept.

No measly claim
Not cheap, but a high quality kofte

As it’s a Monday, I’ll spare you the photo of my messy kofte (lemon juice only, I’m not an animal). It was a NKSS 3.5.


  1. I aint a blinking thickie … but I do know Mr Pork Scratchings; lovely chap from Bradford who built up a sizeable business from nothing and is a regular at Leeds CAMRA beer festival and other beer festivals.

    I’m very surprised you missed the Ian Drury reference, but then again you don’t look very closely at the beer wall do you?


    1. There was a time when scratchings were only made in a 10 miles radius of Wolverhampton. Now it’s all been taken over by big scratchings factories in the north. Nothing like as good as when only Black Country lard was used to cook the rind. Thankfully there’s now an artisan producer in Tipton making a pale version to an old recipe.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The jovial fellow at the Windjammer pub in Dartmouth used to make his own scratchings to quite a complicated process that involved drying out the rind in salt and then baking them.
        It was eating road grit.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I know you’re right but I do find that really hard to believe Paul. You do see Hobgoblin occasionally but I thought Pedi was the beer of the Midlands. And Hobgoblin has never impressed me.


    2. Mr. Scratchings are indeed based in Bradford, but Mr. Porky are in Northampton.

      It’s impossible to be too clear, as Dylan Thomas – I think – once said.


  2. I read on Boak and Bailey a while back, that they were investigating some unusual beer taste combos – better let them know about that Strepsil/Kazbek one – sounds like a winner….

    ‘Peter Stuyvesant’ – definitely a strange thing to say…

    …they must have thought you looked like the one in the hat…

    ..great band though 😉

    Won’t be falling for the handled mugs comment – don’t want those moobs to get excitable – not mine by the way 😉


  3. “Typical Gidea Park scene”

    Who picks up all the bloody leaves?

    With regards to the map I read it too quickly and mistook the Kebab place as belonging to Al Gore. 😉

    “Majestic wine, golf stores and MOTs. ”

    Ah. I just saw the white van. 🙂

    “Simon will bang his head on the dangling lightbulbs, somehow”

    He’s talented that way.

    “The £2.54 2/3rds”

    Yup, saw that. Won’t even round down. Cheeky buggers.

    “into that magical micro pub banter that is put forward as the feature that makes micros somehow worthy of our praise and tax breaks”

    Is it akin to Butler school but instead you train to be a witty conversationalist?

    “Top pub couple”

    I’m still trying to figure out why they have adverts for snacks on the glasses.

    “even after I’d been sucking strepsils for an hour,”

    Yikes. That could definitely affect the taste of the beer.

    “Big Hand Wash taking over micros”

    It says Baylis and Harding, England. So why is part of the description in French and part of the volume in US measurements?

    “Bold claim”

    Maybe the owner’s name is Utred Karlsson. 😉
    (we’ve been watching The Last Kingdom)

    “I have no idea if Balgore is a place, person or concept.”

    Got it! It’s the British Al Gore. 🙂

    “It was a NKSS 3.5.”

    So how do rate Kebabs then? 😉



    1. I’d not seen it for so long that I’d forgotten about lemon juice on kebabs.
      A few days ago I noticed that kebab shops are still quite few and far between in Bristol.

      Liked by 1 person

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