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The Barnsley Chop

Tucked away in the maze of wynds and alleys off Cornhill is one of London’s oldest pubs, the George and Vulture, dating back to 1600. Its genial atmosphere made it a perfect choice for a Friday lunch, prior to the financial crisis depression which descended upon the City in the autumn of 2008.

I was there to dine with two loveable rascals; a father and son team of that rare breed of Englishmen sadly threatened with extinction - the sort of friends I would gladly hold up stagecoaches with.  As a pair of shrewd businessmen and bon viviants who have eaten and drank themselves through one fortune and are determined to do the same with their present one, I am sure they won’t mind me likening them to Tony and Sam Weller, in Pickwick Papers.

We were not long into our second tankards of black velvet before I, other diners within earshot and the waiters who know them of old, were in stitches with their hilarious banter. The pair hail from Keighley, a former industrial town in Yorkshire which, in their none-too-humble opinion, is the centre of the earth; London and the City in particular being full of effeminate miscreants.

As always, with the father there was no dickering or poring over the extensive menu. It was, “Have you ever had a Barnsley Chop?”

No. I hadn’t. Was it similar to the head-butt known to hooligans as the Manchester Kiss?

“Nay tha’ silly bugger. Didn’t they teach you nowt  where you were brought up?” “It’s a bloody big, lamb chop and the George and Vulture occasionally manage to cook it properly; albeit not quite as god as the real thing in Barnsley.”

I will try anything once but not that I had much choice in the matter. Father decided we would have whitebait for starters, followed by this cut of lamb, almost as thick as a brick, which I was duly informed, is taken from right across the loin, becoming in effect a double sided chop – The Barnsley Chop. This was served with mint sauce, roast potatoes and a puree of peas and was absolutely perfect. The son decided we should skip the wine in favour of a bottle beer speciality of the house. On father’s insistence we then scoffed hefty helpings of trifle before he ordered cheese – Yorkshire of course. Neither his son nor I protested when he also demanded a bottle of Dow’s vintage port to “aid the digestion.”

It was one of those meals which I’ll not forget – good company, good food and a  Pickwick Paper’s atmosphere to boot. We only left the G & V when the management, somewhat reluctantly, threw us out. I refused their offer of a taxi, preferring the nearby tube for my two short halts to Chancery Lane. Big mistake - I woke up one hour later in West Ruislip.

Normally the Yorkshire pudding accompanies roast beef or, for the traditionalists, as a starter with the beef gravy poured over. However here is a recipe which recommends it with the lamb. Try it and send in your opinion.


Serves 4


Four thick-cut lamb chops
Rosemary oil
Real ale
Lamb stock
Clove of garlic
Pinch of mixed spice

For the Yorkshire Pudding:
A cup of plain flour
A cup of skimmed milk
Two beaten fresh eggs
Seasoning to taste


Marinade the chips for 2-3 hours in the rosemary oil, real ale and lamb stock, with the thyme, garlic and mixed spice.  To cook, grill to individual taste.

To make the Yorkshire pudding:

Put the flour in a medium mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the beaten eggs.  Then gradually add the milk, beating all together until smooth and creamy.

Rest for one hour before cooking in individual tins or in one deep tray, in which some quality beef dripping has been melted in a hot oven.  Cook for 30-40 minutes at 160 degrees.

Just prior to serving, reduce the marinade juices over heat, and drizzle over the Barnsley Chop, which is served on a bed of creamed potatoes and accompanied by a bowl of crunchy seasonal vegetables.

Recipe courtesy of Head Chef Shajan Abraham.
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