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March 17, 2010 > Restaurant Review: A taste of Britain

Restaurant Review: A taste of Britain

By Shavon Walker

As you enter the Englander Sports Pub restaurant on Parrott Street in San Leandro, the first thing you'll notice is the bright red telephone booth. It's a sign - once you step inside, you're not in the United States any more. According to Englander Manager Tom Lawrie, this was one of the reasons the restaurant was created. "This restaurant was built thirteen years ago," he said. "The owner is from England, and he wanted someplace to go where he'd feel comfortable." San Leandro was the perfect location since owner Jot Mangat also owns nearby Ploughman's Grill.

Inside, an extensive collection of British knickknacks adorn the walls. The restaurant includes sections separated by wood and glass doors off the main pub area which can be rented for private parties and meetings. In keeping with a pub atmosphere, a large, well stocked bar is accompanied by 21 big screens showing sports from hockey to baseball to basketball. To showcase his love of beer, Mangat makes sure that The Englander offers an extensive collection of ales, beers and specialty brews.

My husband and friend were seated quickly, courtesy of our swift, cheerful waitress. The two of them decided to go for pub favorites, ordering bangers and mash, while I decided on the fish pie (highly recommended by the waitress). We also chose two appetizers - calamari and shrimp.

A bit of a wait for our food gave us an opportunity to discover yet another perk to eating at the Englander Sports Pub - interactive gaming. Upon request, servers will provide a tabletop console to play games displayed on one of the screens. Each night the game is different; that evening, we played trivia. This, paired with the bar (and my success at knowing useless information), gave us yet another reason to come back.

The calamari came piping hot, paired with cocktail sauce and lemon wedges. They were wonderfully crisp and surprisingly tender. The shrimp came with the same condiments and was also crispy and delicious. We polished off both in record time.

Bangers and mash, is a favorite choice of most customers, consisted of two English sausages cooked in cider and served on top of mashed potatoes topped with grilled onions and a side of vegetables. The sausages tasted a bit different than American versions; the skin was easy to cut and the meat inside was well seasoned and well cooked. Although the mashed potatoes didn't have much flavor, this was done on purpose since the sausages, grilled onions and vegetables had more than enough to compensate.

I have to admit, I normally have a serious issue ordering fish in a restaurant. But when I took my first bite of fish pie, I was surprised. Salmon, scallops and shrimp cooked in a white wine sauce and topped with mashed potatoes - what's not to like? The salmon was flaky and the scallops and shrimp weren't overcooked at all. My only regret is that I wasn't able to finish my entire serving.

For dessert, we tried the cr¸me brulee. The sugary crust was easy to break with a spoon, and the filling was an unusual orange color; this was because the filling was cr¸me caramel, a bit different from the use of vanilla. We all thought it was wonderful and a perfect ending to the meal.

The Englander Sports Pub has a lot of different elements that make it great for a group of friends, or even just one person, looking for a night out: good beer, full screen sports, interactive gaming and great food.

On March 17, The Englander will celebrate St. Patrick's Day with corned beef, cabbage and green beer. We'll be there, and hopefully, you will too.

Reviewed on 3/9/2010

The Englander Sports Pub
101 Parrott St., San Leandro
(510) 357-3571

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