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New ventures have come and gone on this corner site, but the refurbished Hops & Glory looks a likely stayer. Set at Essex Road’s less gentrified end, this welcoming late-Victorian boozer offers an impressive cast of craft beers: London lagers, stouts and pale ales; top-drawer Belgian Trappist brews; plus punchy Germans and Yankee imports. A hearty British menu keeps pace. To start, vibrant yellow beetroot salad was full of spring promise, boosted by salty capers and coddled egg, but the winner was tender, moreish beef tartare. Main courses were equally successful: plump Cornish brill atop earthy black cabbage and cauliflower was given depth by hazelnut cream; and a fine rump steak was matched with nose-tickling horseradish and beef-dripping chips. Unsurprisingly, we were too full for pud – despite the temptation of chocolate nemesis. Classic cocktails and unpretentious wines offer alternatives to beer, and further entertainment is provided by regular trivia quizzes.
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