Since taking over back in 2014 landlady Tuesday Roberts has introduced events to suit every local from Toddler & Tea Mondays, to Sunday evening drag nights, plus weekly food residencies and decent drinks at good-for-London prices (a pint of Yakima Red and a large glass of very drinkable house red offered change from a tenner).
On Tuesday nights eating meets quizzing with a residency from burger pushers We Serve Humans and Quiz On Your Face, the Northcote’s weekly question-fest, hosted by Northcote barman Gary. I persuaded my pub quiz teammates to abandon our usual Wednesday night get together at a pub in another part of east London and head here. We arrived not long after 6pm and bagged a table at the back, before heading outside to order food from We Serve Humans who were already set up in the beer garden.The brains behind We Serve Humans are Paul and Kate Human, who moved to Leyton a year ago. Paul’s background is in high-end catering and he’s applied the same approach to the We Serve Humans menu, using top-notch suppliers and making everything bar the burger buns from scratch.
Before bringing their burgers to market Paul and Kate embarked on a lengthy research project to make sure theirs stood out. “We created a database of every burger we’d tried, recording what we liked and disliked,” explains Paul. “Then we got together with our butcher and tried dozens of combinations of cuts of meat.” The burger they came up with is a blend of aged brisket, short rib plus marrow for extra juiciness.
At their Northcote pop-up Paul and Kate offer an edit of their full cockney-rhyming slang themed menu. On offer when we visited was The Chairman, We Serve Human’s take on the cheeseburger, deep fried truffled mac and cheese in a bun, which goes by Mac The Ripper and V1s, buffalo wings in hot sauce by any other name, plus three types of Jockey Whips aka chips. We went for Chairmans all round, plus a portion of V1s and one of each type of Jockey Whip.
All that research paid off: the Chairman is a juicy, tasty, love-at-first-bite of a burger that should be on every burger-lover’s must-try list. The wings were succulent and just the right amount of hot. Fries in beef dripping and fries with beer cheese sauce got the thumbs up from the entire team, but the truffled chips divided opinion: half of us were Team Truffle, the other half Team-no-Truffle. (Side note: if you want bacon on your cheeseburger, order early in the evening, or risk disappointment.)Quiz On Your Face is £2 to enter, with the winning team bagging £50, there’s also a round of shots on offer for the best team name, plus a game of Play Your Cards Right, with around £25 up for grabs each week.
Proceedings kick off at 8pm, with rounds covering classic pub quiz categories including recent news events, TV and film, general knowledge and music, a biscuit-themed biscuit quiz, plus some tricky twists such as a round in which questions five and ten related to the previous four answers – not so easy if you hadn’t answered them all – and another in which the final question was to solve an anagram made up of the first letters of the preceding nine answers.As the final round rolled around, we were with the leading pack: just ten questions stood between us and the £50 cash prize. Ten general knowledge questions, three points for each correct answer but zero if we answered even one of the ten questions wrongly. It was tense.
We were confident about seven of our answers. Two we weren’t sure, so we left those blank. We were fairly sure that the final answer was Coronation Street, but as it turns out it’s NOT the longest running show on TV (both Panorama and The Sky At Night have been running for longer, fact fans). And just like that we went from could-have-been-a-contender to bottom-of-the-table. Harsh. But we still had a very good night. Gary: you are an evil genius.