Victoria Freehouse Offers Proper English Oasis
Whenever anyone asks, I can recommend a place for people to eat for almost any kind of ethnic food. Not only can I recommend a place, but I can also give a few options based on price point, as well. This is something I couldn’t really do with English food—you either ate at the pricey Dandelion or you were pretty well out of luck. That is, until the Victoria Freehouse opened at Front and Market, where Swanky Bubbles used to be.
While sampling some Christmas beer on Wednesday night, we were able to get a little taste of some of what the kitchen at Victoria Freehouse is capable of, and a return trip is very promising. Amidst the bite-sized rabbit rillettes and salmon tartar, there was the option of a faux Devils on Horseback—the original dish being bacon-wrapped stilton-stuffed figs, and our option being a hunk of stilton to stuff our own figs. Besides the finger foods was a delicious tray of perfectly cooked lamb chops, followed by small dessert bites of gingerbread cake, mini pecan pie-like tarts, and gingerbread men. The skill with the food was enough that I will definitely be back to sample a full-blown meal, and hopefully find a well-prepared fish and chips, which seems elusive in Philadelphia.
The wintery drinks we had were delicious as well, and included a mulled wine and a cocktail called Pear Tree, made with gin, pear, and rosemary clove simple syrup. It was sweet, but delicious. We were also able to try some of the English beer the Victoria Freehouse specializes in, including St. Peter’s Winter Ale, Innis & Gunn’s Black Treacle Porter, and Ridgeway’s Lump of Coal stout. The beer offerings throughout the bar include 10 taps, two casks, and 50 bottles of mostly English beer, so anyone with a hankering for a pint from overseas will be well-sated here.
If you’d like to get your hands on some of these, the Freehouse will be offering a Christmas Ales Spectacular happy hour tonight from 4-7pm, which will include flights of Ridgeway beers (Lump of Coal, Reindeer’s Revolt, Criminally Bad Elf, and Pickled Santa) for $15—and all flights will be served with the aforementioned Devils on Horseback. The pub will also be offering a Wells Imperial Pairings dinner at 7pm for $30 for three courses paired with Wells beers. Finally, throughout the month of December, the Freehouse will offer Dickens Roasts every Saturday, which will be a three-course meal for $25. Guests will be able to add a wine pairing for an additional $20 or a beer pairing for $15.
While most people don’t immediately think English food when they want to go out, when the cuisine is done well it can be quite good. While we only had samples on Wednesday, all signs point to the food being done quite well at the Victoria Freehouse, and at affordable prices—and as far as I’m concerned, that coupled with a quality beer list is really all you need. And that’s where I’ll end things, because I tell you to have a “jolly good time” or call you “old chap”—and nobody wants that.