Oldest Pub Promises a Magical Christmas with Menu Inspired by Great British Food Traditions
For 1,224 years Ye Olde Fighting Cocks – the pub in the cathedral city of St Albans reputed to be the oldest pub in the country – has been welcoming visitors to the city at Christmas time, with a fire to warm themselves by, and a pint to quench their thirst. The story goes that even Oliver Cromwell spent a night in the old inn in the 1600s.
And this Christmas will be no different, as the pub announces its Christmas menu to coincide with the news that the St Albans European-style Christmas Market, which is a stone’s throw from the ancient inn in the Cathedral’s walled Vintry Garden, is extending its opening days, until Dec 23rd this year, due to popular demand.
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks has that magic formula for a successful Christmas pub: a rich history (as well as being the oldest pub in England, there are said to be tunnels stretching from the beer cellar to the Cathedral, apparently frequented by the monks of that time); a perfect location (in the shadow of St Albans Cathedral, on the edge of Verulamium park and beside the Ver river); and an award-winning team and chef.
Landlord Christo Tofalli says: “Our head chef, Ian Baulsh, has been with us for three years now, after working alongside Michelin star chef Andrew McLeish for three years. He has developed a stunning Christmas menu for us this year that really connects the festive food with the traditions of a great British pub. We now can’t wait for the festive season to start.”
As well as its impressive menu of dishes, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks prides itself on its wide selection of real ales that it offers (up to 16 at times) for which it has won Silver medal for CAMRA’S South Herts Pub of the year.
The pub is close to St Albans Christmas Market, now in its fifth year, which will open on 25 November and close on 23 December this year, giving shoppers even more opportunity to get some last-minute festive gifts from the market’s 60+ stalls. It is set to be more magical that ever before, with a best-dressed chalet competition and a Nutcracker Trail promising to delight the eye, as well as Santa’s grotto and a packed programme of festive fun.
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks’s Christmas Menu is available from 27 November to 23 December, Monday to Friday 12pm-3pm and 6pm-8pm; and Saturday 5pm-8pm
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks Christmas menu
French onion soup with Gruyère croutons
Ham hock terrine with homemade piccalilli and sourdough
Highland cured smoked salmon with capers, shallots, parsley, hard-boiled egg, lemon, sour cream and rye bread (gf)
Rare beef carpaccio with parsley, parmesan, olive oil and lemon
Squash, chestnut and sage rolls served with a spicy tomato relish (v)
Award-winning English Rose Suffolk turkey crown with all the trimmings
Beef Wellington with mushroom duxelles, pomme purée, silver skin onions, Chantenay carrots and veal jus
Grilled ocean trout on a potato rosti with a beetroot, apple and horseradish slaw (gf)
Roasted rump of lamb with colcannon, a port glazed shallot, and lamb jus (gf)
Wild mushroom, goats cheese and black truffle pie with a rocket and parmesan salad (v)
Traditional Christmas pudding with homemade custard
Flourless chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream (gf)
Ice cream selection (salted caramel, clotted cream, rum and raisin)
Selection of French and British cheeses with quince paste, apples and crackers
Three courses costs £35 including a glass of prosecco
To make a booking
Call: 01727 869152
Email: [email protected]
Pre-order only, seven days in advance
Subject to availability
10% service charge added to bill
£10 deposit per person when booking
Christmas Eve 12pm-midnight
Christmas Day 12pm-2pm
Boxing Day 12pm-10.30pm
New Year’s Eve – 12pm-1am
New Year’s Day 12pm-10.30pm