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!

Monday, September 2, 2019

BV London Pub of the Year 2018-19 - the results

Everybody enjoys a really close contest - there's nothing better than a thrilling nailbiter that goes right down to the wire. So much more enjoyable than watching a procession where the end result was never in doubt. No prizes for being in front, only for winning as they say.

(I've got loads more cliches left in the locker from my days as a BBC Sports writer, but that'll probably do.)

Anyway, this year's Pub of the Year competition has turned out to be pretty exciting. With five - count 'em, five! - pubs all level on points going into the final reckoning. Nothing like this has ever happened before and the margins involved in picking the winner will be finer than a fine old ale (see what happens when you stop using sporting cliches, you end up with beery analogies that are weaker than a table saison...)

We'd best get onto the results, I think. There are two of last year's top five, two of the new contenders and one re-entry making up the the 2018-19 Top Five. And no cliche or analogy can truly express just how close this has been this time.

The countdown you've all been waiting for...

This year's No. 5 is competition debutant, the Albion in Kingston. I've been massively impressed by the beer selection and quality at the cousin of last year's victor, and if they hadn't lost a point for some inexplicably disappointing food, they could be winning the competition, but it's so close this year that fifth place is an impressive showing nonetheless.

Making a welcome return to the competition, and perhaps the surprisingly the only member of the Craft Beer Co stable to feature in the final five this time is the Cask Pub and Kitchen, Pimlico, which takes 4th place.

In 3rd, it's last year's winner, the Antelope, Surbiton. A fantastic suburban community pub, let down, if we're being brutally honest, by the cask ale quality just not being quite as exceptional as in some of the other pubs I've been drinking in over the past year.

So, drumroll please....... ok maybe a fretless bass fill instead... no, you go back to your drums..........

The Hope is special and has indeed raised the bar!
We have a new runner-up this year, and it's a brand new contender that hasn't been open 18 months. Yes, it's the Kentish Belle in Bexleyheath. A sort of supersized micro-pub where excellent cask beer and must-attend tap takeovers are the order of the day.

And that brings us to the 2018-19 London Pub of the Year, and just days after they were awarded the CAMRA equivalent, the award goes to the Hope, Carshalton.

The Hope takes the prize for the second time, following a transitional year where they still managed to finish third, and it's a testament to the hardworking team and local community stakeholders (and not forgetting Pubcat!) that it's even bigger and better following a much-needed refurb and expansion.

The beer range and quality, the monthly festivals and cracking atmosphere combine to make the pub both a haven for locals and a destination for distant visitors. The long train/bus rides are well worth it!

Congratulations everyone!


  1. Is that a > (greater than) 14% beer? lol. And well doen to the Hope!

  2. Was wondering when we would finally get this years results, well done everybody esp. Hope

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