When I visited, The Calf was enjoying the calm before the storm. Just a few days later I knew the Olympics would kick off and all the Westfield Stratford restaurants and bars would suddenly become manically busy.
Arriving at Stratford station, I had a joint surge of excitement and annoyance… it was my first time at this giant shopping centre and with it comes an awesome vista of the Olympic stadium… however I just can’t accept that this East London shopping mall isn’t appropriately named Eastfield, it would have been so fitting instead reusing the name of the first complex in Shepherd’s Bush.
The Calf is part of the Geronimo Inns Group and is the smaller sister of The Cow, also housed in Westfield Stratford. This pop-up pub-bar seems to have it sorted… a low key trendy pub serving up tasty British grub and a good pint… oh and a few stylish London-esque cocktails for the girls that pop in.
We ordered almost everything from the menu, I kid not. To be fair the list is quite brief, but when the waiter had to join a second table to ours, we knew we’d gone too far. It isn’t a traditional starter, main pudding format… more of a get-whatever-you-like-whenever-you-like. Perfect for picking while enjoying a drink and good company. The sharing boards are the winners, with a choice of Butchers Board, Fishmonger or Grocer…we favoured the latter… a selection of premium cheeses and insanely good hummus, chutney and coleslaw. The Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Salad was delicious with perfectly ripe tomatoes, soft creamy cheese and plenty of moreish pesto dressing. Warning: the soft and salty potato wedges are served with a dangerously addictive roasted garlic mayo… which I couldn’t resist finishing off… the strong garlic taste remained in my mouth for days after. Marinated Chicken and Avocado Wrap was rather average… a mush of meat and avocado with little seasoning, disappointing as I adore avocado.
The desserts are slightly more posh: Marshmallows drizzled in Dark Chocolate Sauce… simple but effective for an after dinner sugar kick and Lemon Posset with Raspberries, the most delicious citrus sweet pudding with the silkiest, creamiest texture.
The Calf is a bit rough around the edges but this is what gives this eatery its character and charm… I predict it will outlive its pop-up expectancy, well here’s hoping anyway as it is a great asset to the Westfield Stratford restaurant scene.
Visit the Calf website here for more information.