The gastropub has moved the pub food goalposts. No more the simple choice of a Ploughman’s, jacket potato or doorstep sandwich with chips). But Tom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food (BBC2, 8.30pm, 30 September) stretched even today’s foodie understanding of pub food to its limits.
Don’t get me wrong. The only chef to have earned two Michelin stars for pub grub dished up some truly awesome food (my favourite being the slow-cooked beef ribs with the ultimate BBQ glaze) and he’s an engaging new voice in the world of TV chefdom (with his broad Gloucestershire accent and description of everything as “proper lush”, “cheeky”, “right tasty” or “bonkers”).
But proper pub food? Really? This week, we were treated to a selection of dishes that apparently evoke beer gardens because they’re cooked outside in other words, BBQ food (just what you want to cook in October). And even that definition was tenuous, as demonstrated by the beef ribs, which took THREE DAYS and were simply finished off on the BBQ. “Perfect for a hassle-free barbie,” Kerridge proclaimed. Who’s he kidding?
These ‘pub classics’ involved such a ridiculous number of ingredients, it would cost a fortune to try them at home, even if you did, as Kerridge helpfully suggested, use prawns instead of lobster supermarket tomatoes instead of heritage and balsamic instead of cab sav vinegar.
This didn’t detract from the fabulousness of the food. Just don’t expect pub grub from this series. Or pubs, for that matter. Kerridge barely visited any.