Bensoir! It's me, Benjamin. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You may have read stuff I've written elsewhere, but here on my own blog as Ben Viveur I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others, so pretty much anything goes.

BV is about enjoying real food and drink in the real world. I showcase 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. And as a critic 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!

Monday, September 4, 2017

BV London Pub of the Year 2016-17 - the results

It's that time again. A little later than usual, but then it was a particularly difficult decision this year.

We've reviewed last year's top five and five spanking new entries, and it's all change. (Quite literally as last year's No. 3, the Clapham Craft Beer Co has now ceased to be!)

Pints have been quaffed, menus sampled, atmospheres taken in, and all for that noblest of causes -  picking out the best damn pub in all of London.

So, here we go...

This year's fifth place goes to the Pelt Trader, which impressively makes the top five for the third year in a row with a simple formula of great beer and delicious pizzas right in the heart of the City.

In fourth we have the Euston Tap(s), which offers twice the beer and twice the fun these days. This is their first Top-5 finish since the inaugural PoTy in 2011-12, and with the widest range of draught beer in London, good luck making the 15:47 to Crewe!

The Craft Beer Co, Clerkenwell has won the title in four years out of five - but this time they have finally been toppled from the top spot. Indeed they've been gentle edged into third place by their stablemate...

There is Hope for the traditional pub yet
The Craft Beer Co. Covent Garden, which has finished in the runner-up spot for the third year in a row. An awesome range of cask, keg and bottle, not to mention a shelf of spirits that reads like a Wacky Races of Malt and Grain. But it's not quite the winner.

So clearly, we have a new champion. And it is The Hope, Carshalton.
It's perhaps fitting that in an age when the conventional narrative is that traditional, wet-led backstreet locals - for want of a better phrase, 'proper pubs' - are dying out, a really good proper pub can not only buck the trend but thrive.

Owned by, and run for, the local community, but equally welcoming to hardcore beerheads like me, the Hope elegantly combines everything that is great about the traditional British boozer with all that is exciting about contemporary craft beer. Not to mention hosting beer festivals almost every month!

Obviously I've been fairly critical of CAMRA in recent months, but one thing we can agree on is that this is a truly awesome pub - it's CAMRA's Greater London Pub of the Year, and now it can add the BV Trophy to an ever-growing list of achievements.

Well done guys, you have done something nobody ever has - you've actually put Carshalton on the map! Great stuff!


  1. Well done The Hope!

  2. nice to have a new winner

  3. Well done to all the people who clearly work so hard to make The Hope the greatest "wet-led backstreet local" there is! Real team work. Thank you and Congratulaions!!

  4. Well done The Hope and Well done Carshalton.


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