Some of my favourite places to eat are the ones you can just drop by. The places where you don't need to worry about what you're wearing or having to book a table. They're the places where the staff greet you like a friend and don't try to rush you in and out. For a while now, one of my go-to places to grab a coffee (or my new favourite, a lavender hot chocolate) after work with friends, or stop for a quick bite, has been Ernest, a little place nestled in Ouseburn just around the corner from the Cluny. It's one of those places that I find difficult to define, being some between a bar, cafe and a restaurant. With it's mismatched vintage furniture and quirky details (look out for the collection of retro Star Wars figurines), it's the kind of place where you can't help but feel at home. Since leaving Precept, I've missed working right next to Ouseburn and being able to drop by with the boys for lunch and tucking into a bowl of chorizo hash. Now it's become more of a place for after work, and the other week I met up with Amy to receive belated birthday gifts and catch up on gossip. Since neither of us wanted a full blown meal, and we were both feeling a bit skint after spending too much on Christmas presents, we opted for a spiced lamb flatbread with feta and pinenuts, and shared a portion of sweet potato fries served with tzatziki, and a bowl of olives and feta.
Before we arranged to meet, I realised I'd never really managed to get any decent photos of the food in Ernest (save on my instagram so thought it was the perfect excuse to bring along my DSLR so I could get some nice snaps. Besides their breakfasts (which I urge you to try if you get the chance) Ernest's flatbreads are kind of their speciality, although all the food is good and cooked from fresh using seasonal and mostly locally sourced ingredients. The flatbreads are a little like pizza served without a tomato base but loaded with delicious toppings and a handful of salad. Accompanied by the sweet potato fries, tzatziki, olives and feta, it was more than enough for us to share.
Since we were feeling pretty full afterwards, we sipped on lavender hot chocolate with marshmallows, discussing plans for Christmas and New Year. After having a pretty dramatic few months, I'm not really sure I'm up for a big night out. And Gav, the guy behind Ernest is offering what could be the perfect solution: On The Fence 2. It's not ticketed, it's just drinks, DJs and dancing in a good environment. If you're undecided on your plans, or you're wanting to keep your options open and not have to buy a ticket into somewhere, it maybe worth checking out! What about you? Have you got NYE plans yet?