Last Updated on October 15, 2021
Pub classics and exciting specials in warm and luxurious surroundings at The Bald Faced Stag
Arriving at The Bald Faced Stag one is immediately facing the stylish bar which offers a wide range of beers, wines and cocktails. To the right is a snug room with a handful of secluded tables for those who prefer to sit away from the bustling entrance, and to the left is an expansive dining area with the impressive main feature of a large tree offering an indoor leafy canopy. The recent refurbishment has also created an all-year-round large pub garden featuring plentiful heaters and a terrace.
After being warmly greeted by the amicable staff at The Bald Faced Stag, we settled into a comfortable booth to the left of the bar and ordered cocktails. The draught espresso martini was well-presented, with a strong and flavourful coffee. The striking ruby-coloured negroni with Sipsmith’s gin, Campari and Martini Rosso was similarly impressive with a tangy and sweet taste.
The bar snacks which we ordered, the sausage roll with HP sauce and the Gordal olives, were generous in their portion size and the sausage roll was a satisfying version of the classic. The highlight of the starters had to be the lamb belly fritter, with anchovy and caper ketchup and crispy mint. The lamb was perfectly crispy on the outside yet tender in the middle and was full of flavour. The drizzle of anchovy and caper ketchup added the salty back notes, well complemented by the mint and rocket. This starter would be the first I would order from the menu on a return visit.
On to the mains and the short rib and flank burger with smoked Applewood cheddar, burnt onions, bone marrow crumb, gherkins and skin-on fries. For me, the Applewood cheddar was the standout feature with the apple being a tasty accompaniment but works very well in complementing the short rib and flank patty. The skin-on fries were also satisfying crunchy and served with a good quality mayonnaise on request, and the bun was well toasted. Other mains options include cider-battered fish and chips as well as charter pie, venison ragu and butternut squash and sage agnolotti.
The show was stolen, however, by the flat-iron chicken with smoked bacon and chive butter with rocket salad and skin-on fries. The chicken, including crispy skin, was served as a hearty portion. It nevertheless remained fragrant and light, with the smoky flavours from the bacon adding another layer of complexity to the overall taste. The drizzle of garlic, sage and butter was also a delicate touch that rounded off an excellent main course. We washed down our mains with pints of Beavertown Neck Oil and Paulaner München Lager.
From the dessert menu, the zesty Bramley apple and rhubarb crumble with vanilla bean custard can certainly be recommended. The crumble topping is not too sweet and contrasts well with the large chunks of apple which give this crumble the requisite rustic appearance. My companion, despite normally being a sceptic of this particular dish, ordered the sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch, maple pecans and clotted cream ice cream. The Bald Face Stag, however, successfully won him over with this rich, dark and indulgent offering. The maple pecans are a particularly excellent inclusion that accompanies the dark rum flavours well.
Located just a few minutes’ walk from East Finchley tube station, The Bald Faced Stag is well connected for those coming from East Finchley, Muswell Hill or elsewhere in this part of north-west London. The nearby Cherry Tree Wood makes the pub an excellent rest stop for dog walkers or weekend wanderers. The Bald Faced Stag also puts on themed events, with an upcoming Halloween Karaoke party and Tina Turner and Stevie Nicks tribute nights.
The Bald Faced Stag
69 High Road
South Londoner? For a similar menu and ambience try The Angel Oak at Peckham Rye