Archie's Bar & Grill- Lake Washington- 5 Stars
Maybe it was the dream I had last night where I was, "Bond. James Bond.," or maybe it was the Jaguar Vanden Plas in British Racing Green that blew by me on the road, but whatever it was, I was hunkering for some good old British food. In other words, I wanted some Fish and Chips and I wanted them now.
Pulling into Archie's parking lot off of Lake Washington Road, I noticed the logo on the front door: A British Bulldog in a top hat emblazoned with a Union Jack. Wondering if the Dynamite Kid was to be found inside (and sending a silent R.I.P. to Davey Boy Smith), I eagerly entered the establishment. What I found was reminiscent of an old English Pub complete with a long wooden bar, wooden high back stools, and British Memorabilia and Flags adorning the walls. I immediately felt like I was in London, only two things assured me I wasn't: 1. The sun was shining brightly outside and 2. The glaring absence of a snooker table and the resplendent authentic pig bristle dartboard found in every English pub as it is written in the Magna Carta.
I guess the owners, Paul and Amanda, were able to skirt around that stipulation by setting up shoppe in a breakaway colony. As my server, Tara introduced herself and asked if I was ready to order, I couldn't help but be a little let down by her lack of a British accent, however; she more than made up for this by her knowledge of the menu and her competence in performing her duties. She was zeroed in on her customers and on point all day.
I placed an order for a Wexford Irish Cream Ale, Fish and Chips and a Scotch Egg. The ale was served at the perfect temperature, delightfully refreshing and the perfect pairing with the Fish and Chips. The Chips here are the big, thick "steak fries" and these were fried to a perfect golden brown with a crunchy exterior and a soft interior. The chef really nailed them.
The fish, albeit of the frozen variety, was surprisingly delicious. Some of the best I've ever had, fresh or frozen. I am assuming this was due to the way they were flawlessly battered and fried to exquisite golden brown. The inside was moist and flakey, as optimally cooked fish is to be cooked, regardless of preparation. The cole slaw, however, was a slight let down as it had adequate crunch, but lacked any and all flavor.
The proverbial cherry on top of all this fried, crunchy goodness, the Scotch Egg. If you don't know what this is, see the accompanying photo, it is not that easy to make as it is a hard-cooked egg wrapped in fresh sausage and then fried. This was, by far, the crème de la crème of my order. I can only imagine the chef approaching the preparation of this dish with the same droit du seigneur found in the Lords of feudal Europe. I say this as he totally nailed it. The egg was wrapped in the arms of some of the most delicious sausage I have ever had. It was savory, crispy, juicy and slightly sweet on the palate. Inside was egg heaven. The egg was perfectly done to a firm hardness, yet still oozed just a tiny bit of yolk (mix this with the sausage crumbs on your plate so you don't miss a drop of this delicious concoction of Scottish culinary genius). I cannot recommend this place enough.
The Big Boy says, "Do not pass up this hidden gem in Melbourne for excellent UK chow, just leave your darts at home as they don't have a board.