Last Updated on October 5, 2021
Pub grub in Blackheath
Just a few minutes walk from Blackheath village and fronting the wide green expanse of the heath, the Hare & Billet is an atmospheric and busy pub offering hearty food.
The pub was a hive of activity when we arrived. A small wedding party was just leaving as others were arriving for the popular Wednesday night quiz that was due to start later.
The venue is divided into a busy bar at the front and a slightly more sedate and comfortable wood-panelled restaurant area at the back that quickly filled with diners. Both sections have a warm, lively atmosphere and we received excellent service throughout our visit.
We were guided through the menu by our waiter, who carefully explained which dishes had fallen prey to the HGV/supply chain crisis. Our visit coincided with a lack of lamb, soft-shell crab and Sauvignon Blanc. Luckily, there were plenty of other delicious things for us to try.
The wine list at the Hare & Billet is long and varied and a pleasing proportion of the wines are available by the glass. I chose the light and very drinkable Gavi “La Fornace” Cinzia Bergaglio from the Piedmont region of Italy. It was served perfectly chilled in good glassware, and one delicious glass soon led inevitably to a second. It was a great accompaniment to my fish main course too.
There is also a wide choice for beer drinkers, with the selection on tap ranging from local craft ales to big-name lagers. My companion was pleased to find draft Estrella here, a current favourite.
For her starter, my companion picked the Scotch egg from the Bar Snacks menu. She was impressed by the good sausage and properly orange yolk that was neither runny nor hardboiled. The accompanying mustard mayonnaise could have been more strongly mustardy.
I had the chicken liver parfait, which was creamy and smooth, with a contrastingly sharp cranberry topping. It is served here with melted butter and toasted sourdough, making for a luxuriant and filling combination.
Then, for my main course, I tried the pan-fried sea bass fillet with new potatoes, chorizo, capers, spinach and a lemon dressing. Masses of capers, well-cooked fish alongside well-matched flavours of chorizo, capers and lemon all made for a very enjoyable plate of food. Sometimes fish dishes can leave you wanting more but not on this occasion.
My friend chose the flat-iron chicken, which came with a delicious chive butter, chips and spinach. The meat was juicy and full of flavour and declared another success. Again this was a copious portion and she was beaten by the sheer quantity of food on her plate.
There is a good choice of “school” puddings on the Hare & Billet’s dessert menu – think crumbles and sticky toffee pudding. I wanted to try all of them and even after tackling the onslaught of huge starters and mains we still couldn’t resist ordering two of them. My friend had the orange and lemon posset. I think she was expecting the usual tiny portion in a dainty glass but instead, a large bowl of creamy posset arrived swimming with poached strawberries and served with a large homemade vanilla shortbread biscuit. I was pretty jealous. I had opted for the dark chocolate brownie with coffee ice cream. The menu had promised salted molasses, which I’d been intrigued to try, but they were sadly missing (presumably stuck on a container ship on the North Sea). The brownie wasn’t the gooiest I’ve ever tasted so needed a sauce to bring the dish together, but it was still a perfectly edible dessert.
The pub is situated in a beautiful part of London with far-reaching views over Canary Wharf and London but which still maintains an almost countrified feel. Blackheath is worth a visit on its own or combined with a walk through Greenwich Park or via the Georgian back streets of Greenwich before you emerge onto the wide-open heath. The Hare & Billet is an ideal stopping off point for a restorative drink at the bar after a bracing hike. It’s also a great destination for a long boozy, filling lunch or dinner. We’ll be returning soon and perhaps even trying our luck at the pub quiz.
The Hare & Billet
1a Hare and Billet Rd, Blackheath, London SE3 0RB