10 January 2010

Joining the S&M Lovers Club


Over the last few years, there is been a culinary trend emerging with the rediscovery of traditional British classics: bangers and mash, Shepherds pie, Toad in the Hole, Welsh rarebit to name just a few have all been brought back to the mainstream and vogue.  Popping up on menus in gastropubs and fine dining establishments.  It's cool to be traditional don't you know?

In age of austerity, there's something quite comforting about a simple formula of hearty portions of meat and two veg, designed to please on the inside than just the eye.    One chain of restaurants which has been riding on the traditional British grub bandwagon before it become cool is S&M Cafe.  S&M is an acronym for 'sausage and mash' and a chain of "designer greasy spoons' have been serving good old fashion British grub including bangers, pies and toad in the hole since the opening of its first branch on Portobello Road in 2002.  Since that time more S&M Cafes have sprung up in London including Islington, Spitalfields, Smithfield Market and Leadenhall Market.
Toad in the hole with beans & mash

Until September last year I hadn't eaten in a S&M for well over three years, but then I received an email from the chain with an invitation to join the S&M Lovers Club, which offers you 10% off meals.  It included an email offer a £10 voucher redeemable against meals.  So off I went with the AB on a sunny Sunday afternoon to the Spitalfield's branch of the chain.  
S&M Classic
The cafe was really busy and full of people returning from a morning of shopping at Spitalfields market and Brick Lane, but despite this the service was incredibly swift and friendly.  We were seated within in minutes of entering.   Both the A&B opted for sausage and mash.  I went for The Classic which comprised one pork and real ale and one pork and leek sausage served with humongous side of mash and gravy. The Aussie ordered Toad in the hole with a side of baked beans,  mash plus an extra side of chunky chips.  The sausages were great - firm and meaty, and although the mash was a bit lumpy I really enjoyed it - for it's simplicity and heartiness.

The AB's Toad in the Hole, however was a bit of a disappointment.  Although the Cumberland sausages tasted great, the Yorkshire pudding, the other essential component which underpins the whole dish was tasteless, and also slightly undercooked.  How hard is it to make a good Yorkshire pudding that has a light and crispy batter?  The chips, however, were perfect - crunchy on the outside but fluffy in the centre so make sure you save room for them., they tasted really good dipped in gravy.

The meal including a couple of cokes came to under £20, but we only paid a tenner because of the £10 voucher - a bargain even without the voucher.  I'd definitely go back for the sausages and chips.

S&M is currently running a 'More banger for your buck' promotion until the end of January, where you can order two sausage meals and two glasses of house wine for £10, Monday - Friday.  Just walk in to receive the offer

S & M Café on Urbanspoon

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