And lo, it came to pass, that a distinctly dodgy boozer in south London bloomed into a classy, refined gastropub in which any remotely middle class punter would gladly while away a good few hours.
Itchy did just that on a Sunday in March when we visited The Manor Arms
, and we roasted our little hearts out.
When we got home, we had to put on our jim-jams and hop into bed for an hour or so. We were too full-up to function, which is precisely the right way to be on a Sunday.
Things got started with a bowl of utterly brilliant pork scratchings: they were super-crunchy, perfectly salty and oh-so-slightly soft in the centre, and they came with an apple sauce dip. (These were just for us to nibble on while we perused the menu but we managed to eat a bowl each. This, in hindsight, may have been a mistake).
To start (properly), we had a salad of multicoloured beets with goat's curd and walnuts (pictured). Banish all school dinner thoughts from your head, now
. This was light, sweet and mild, and we loved it. We also had lemony crab on toast, with a puree of brown crab meat on the side, which was a zingy, yet homely, start to our meal.
Next came two blades of roast beef that fell apart in gorgeous, rich flakes. They were served with lashings of horseradish (which didn't make our noses run, as we'd've liked it to, but not everyone likes their condiments to burn), excellent Yorkshire puds that were puffed up like chefs' hats, perfectly-cooked seasonal vegetables, and a good whack of roast potatoes.
We were thoroughly satisfied and ready to don our coats when dessert cutlery was plonked on our table and we were reliably informed that we wouldn't be allowed to leave until we'd had some more. Oliver Twist would love
Naturally, we ordered one each. Lemon possett with rhubarb and shortbread biscuits arrived was beautifully simple: creamy, tart and moreish, and our chocolate brownie with pistachio ice cream and chocolate sauce (pictured) was sticky, rich and delicious.
We left incapable of doing anything other than sitting very, very still, but that's hardly a problem at the weekend, is it?