Shiver me Timbers

Shepherd's pie was created as a means of using leftovers from Sunday roast -- the meat chopped, vegetables layered in, mashed potatoes plopped on top and browned in the oven. The version here thankfully omits the peas and carrots and is, in essence, a loosely bound meatloaf topped with bronzed, garlic-mashed potatoes.

I've always preferred British pies ("pasties") with crusts, and half a dozen varieties are baked here. The story behind these pies is, I'm afraid, a predictable one: A restaurateur painstakingly ships the components of an English tavern across the Atlantic and spends not an inconsiderable amount of time and cash to re-create it piece by piece, but when it comes to preparing the famous British pasties, he uses premade sheets of puff pastry instead of attempting a simple homemade crust (flour, fat, water, salt, and pepper). I don't deny that puff pastry is more buttery than the traditional pastry dough, but its soft texture barely withstands the creamy white "exclusive Guinness gravy" that binds chunks of chicken breast and slices of mushroom in the aptly named "chicken and mushroom pie"; and the bottom layer of crust is doomed to sogginess by the combined liquid forces of sauce above and a pool of water below that seeps slowly from those peas and carrots.

Fish, fries, and peas
Colby Katz
Fish, fries, and peas

Location Info


Blue Anchor Pub

804 E. Atlantic Ave.
Delray Beach, FL 33483

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Delray Beach


561-272-7272. Lunch and dinner 11:30 a.m. till 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon till 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
804 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach

With most entrées under $15 and many under $10, it doesn't make sense to exert much narrative on culinary shortcomings. The fare here won't knock down your knickers, but Blue Anchor Pub exists as a uniquely atmospheric place to put down a pint and pick up some hearty eats. If you're really hungry, you might even consider dessert, though I wouldn't necessarily encourage you to do so. Admittedly, I'm not the biggest fan of English trifle to begin with, but the sponge cake in this rendition was soaked so strongly in sherry that the custard and jam were overwhelmed -- as was the puff of canned whipped cream on top. A prefab Irish cream pie with chocolate crust, cheesecake consistency, and potent Irish cream liquor flavor wasn't bad, but I bet a real working-class English pubgoer wouldn't be caught dead eating a frou-frou dessert like this. If I ever encounter Bertha, I'll ask her.

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