The Flask

Tel: +44 (0)20 8348 7346
Address: 77 Highgate West Hill N6 6BU
Cuisine Type: modern European
nearest tube station Hampstead (NORTHERN)

Sunday – day of rest. Sunday lunch – leisurely weekly indulgence of comfort food (particularly after a night of drinking, but who am I to point fingers?). The Flask eagerly and efficiently accommodates recovering diners and weekend revellers by providing grub from 12.00-4.00 p.m.

Many pubs offer a weekend roast of sorts, but The Flask is unique, starting with the space: the authentic oldy-worldy exterior doesn’t necessarily give away what awaits inside. A maze of wonderful nooks and crannies, dark and atmospheric club-like corridors, and a mixture – and balance – of traditional and nouveau welcomes you once in the door. Ample-sized contemporary leather seats and sofas, low tables and fat candles strewn throughout the space give off a surprisingly trendy feel.

The lunch offerings are truly delectable and can accommodate a variety of tastes. The primary, or perhaps more customary menu items include, roast topside of Aberdeen Angus beef, English roast lamb or vegetarian sausages – all with roast potatoes and parsnips, Yorkshire pudding, cauliflower and cheese, bashed carrot and swede, gravy and broccoli. Yum! And that’s just the food – the very generous portion is a delightful £9.95, and is the most expensive dish on the lunch menu.

Less traditional Sunday lunchtime fare aims to equally tempt meat and fish lovers. The butcher’s platter features roast beef, chunky cut ham roasted on the bone, salami Milano, with Ardennes pate, ale chutney and stone oven baked bread (£8.00). Fresh seafood selections offer a fantastic variety of fruits de mer. The fisherman’s platter is covered in smoked salmon, shell-on prawns, smoked mackerel, blue claw crab and crayfish, simply served with lime and just-baked bread (£8.00).

If lighter meals are more your craving, have no fear – choose from attractive salads like grilled salmon Niçoise and Mediterranean salad with feta cheese and olives (£6.50-£7.80).

Do not miss the homemade puddings (£3.50), which are unabashedly rich and fattening – but that’s the point, isn’t it? Go on, try the “full fat” bread and butter pudding with crème fraiche, the apple crumble with “lashings” of custard or the sticky toffee pudding with ice cream and toffee sauce. Then proceed home for a serious afternoon nap to sleep off your food coma.

The Flask is also open for supper during the week from 6.00-9.30 p.m. and has a decidedly handsome outdoor area ideal for a sunny afternoon (however, when we were there, outdoor heating lamps made it comfortable for folks to sit outside anyway). And, needless to say, as a pub, all types of libations are available for standard pub prices.

If you plan to visit The Flask on a Sunday, keep in mind the locale is very popular. You’ll undoubtedly find local residents queuing for tables patiently – and happily – knowing that the wait is well worth it.

– Sue Couter, 4/2003