ʽʽHi, I’m Benjamin Nunn – critic, gourmand and author of Ben Viveur. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You might have read me in an in-flight magazine, or a beer publication, but here on my own blog I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others so anything goes.

I deal with real food and drink in the real world, aiming to create recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. Likewise, I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended.

Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

BV London Pub of the Year 2014-15 - the results

Choosing a Pub of the Year is never easy.

It's not, for example, like choosing socks, which is one of the simplest decisions facing mankind. You can't just pick pubs out of the sock drawer and say 'yep, these'll do', or chuck it back in on the basis that a vibrantly-coloured Pac-Man design might not be the most appropriate internal footwear for your grandfather's funeral.

This is the fourth BV Pub of the Year contest, and one thing I learned pretty quickly is that it's difficult. Your brain becomes the battlefield for endless power-struggles over which pubs to exclude, why one pub worth seven points is not quite as good than other with the same score, or why that might be unfair on the first pub. You've never had a bad pint at Pub X, but in your heart of hearts, you know that the atmosphere doesn't live up to Pub Y, but your head of heads can't qualify exactly why not...

It's like having a massive fuck-off draw full of flawless, fragrant-smelling pairs of socks, none of which could possibly cause offence to anybody at any time.

But you've been kept waiting long enough

So, here we go.

Craft Clapham takes third...
In fifth place it's one of this year's new contenders - the Pelt Trader. The Pelt becomes the first pub in the City to take a top-five spot, and you're guaranteed excellent quality craft beer at reasonable prices, big, proper pizzas and a canoe thing suspended from the ceiling.

Fourth place may come as a surprise to many, but there is a place in the PotY for a scruffy corner local in New Cross. Yep, it's the Royal Albert - South London's flagship Antic pub where you can enjoy beers from some of London's more obscure breweries and snack on the greatest sausage rolls in the known universe.

Heading back into rather more familiar territory, last year's runner-up - the Craft Beer Co. Clapham - takes third spot this time. They might not be that bothered however, because the top two pubs this year are its brother and sister.

Yep, it's a 1-2-3 podium sweep for the Craft Beer Co. The hugely impressive Covent Garden branch takes second place, and for the third time in four years, the Ben Viveur London Pub of the Year is the Craft Beer Co. Clerkenwell. The original and still - just - the best.

...but Clerkenwell wins again!
It was really tough calling this particular decision. Over the past year I've drunk a lot of beer in both pubs, most of it rather majestic. In the end, the deciding factor came down to three beers. Three extremely special, delicious beers:

Thornbridge 'Baize' - a chocolate mint stout, Hopcraft 'Midnight in Antarctica' (a 'white porter' with coffee, vanilla and coconut!) and the 12% imperial stout Evil Twin 'Even More Jesus: Hazelnut edition'.

All were truly fucking awesome; definitely my favourite Craft Beer Co. beers during the year. I drank one of the three at Covent Garden, and the other two at Clerkenwell, and so by this tiny but significant margin it's a win for Clerkenwell.

Congratulations to Francesco, Mark and all the guys - you've done it again!!!


  1. Ben, thank you so much for giving us such an accolade!

  2. OK well done to the craft then I guess..

  3. Why is it mostly the same beers whenever I go in there though?

  4. Also other pubs have more character I think, and a wider selection of different breweries.

  5. Select images with salad lol


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