Allow me to briefly to be nostalgic about my old 'hood.
Just before we left I noticed an interesting-looking pub open up in the spot of an unwelcoming old place on Highgate Road. On my late cycles home from the library after a day's studying I would catch glimpses happy bohemian types sipping ale, bare bulbs, exposed floors, chalk boards. Oh...to be finished my exams, I thought.
Well, in the brief window between finishing my exams and moving house, I made it to The Southampton Arms. It is a pretty special place - it doesn't have a telephone, you can't reserve tables, it only sells independent UK ales and ciders and pork pies, sausage rolls, scotch eggs, roast pork sandwiches. Nice.
When we rolled in they had already sold out of scotch eggs, so we had a round of pork and cider pie (served with piccalilli) and sausage rolls (served with a light tomato salsa), which were delicious. The pork pie was meaty and fruity, with pastry a million miles removed from those nasty jelly and fat pies you pick up from the supermarket. The sausage rolls also good.
Later on we ordered some pork rolls. Wow. The rolls were so soft and buttery, dusted with flour in a totally old school way. The pork was juice and was accompanied by delicious apple sauce. Though there was only one slice of meat in each roll (not representing the best value for money at £4.50), it was still very delicious.
So if you find yourself on the Parliament Hill side of the Heath on a lovely sunny day, it would be well worth your while to have a post-park snack and pint at the Southampton Arms. It is also much less smug and has much better drinks than the Bull and Last up the road.