The Silver Cup, Harpenden, Hertfordshire.

Life has a funny way of coming full circle, so it is perhaps unsurprising that whilst I was back in the UK I spent a couple of months working for the son of the lady who gave me my start in the hospitality business at Harpendens fabled “Billys Bar & restaurant” back in 1998.

Landlord Michael Singleton and his business partner & executive Chef Matthew Reeder took over the helm at The Silver Cup public house, early last year (not exactly ideal timing!) after buying the pub from the previous landlord, Matthews father, Tony. With both partners coming from hospitality families with ties to the community, the amount of warmth and support directed at these young professionals was lovely to see, especially in light of their fierce commitment and drive for success at such a cruel time for the industry.

After playing around with a classic set menu, they have now fine tuned their offering to a seasonal chefs menu (degustation sounds wrong somehow but I guess that is what it is) You can expect to start with playful little bites such as miniature Txuleta steak tartare, or buttery pastry cups filled with rich chicken parfait, before launching into the menu “proper” with perhaps a plate of light and zingy ceviche or cured seafood.

Everything at The Silver Cup is homemade, and their bread course, served with a flavoured, whipped butter such as crispy chicken skin or a light tapenade, is no different. The fish course, could see anything from BBQ monkfish with maitake mushrooms & celeriac, to halibut with courgette and a homemade raviolo filled with crab and scallop mousse, whilst the main event – think venison with quince and winter leaves, or crispy skinned duck breast with smoked garlic and peas and bacon a la Française – will likely have been purchased on the bone and then stripped down to use every last part for a stock, parfait, sausage or offal garnish.

Desserts are another high note of the meal, in summertime maybe a lush white chocolate cremeux with strawberries & basil oil or at this time of year, a more hearty autumnal pud of carrot cake with buttermilk.

Biased as I *may be* The Silver Cup is just 30 minutes north of Kings Cross by train, & is exciting enough to tempt even your most jaded foodie friend out of London for the evening. The service team is expertly led by Liv, Matthews sister, and puts most London restaurants I ate at to shame, let alone other comparable country pubs. My meals there (of which there were several) were definitely up there with the very best I enjoyed in the 6 months I was back in the UK & I really hope that this talented young team gets the recognition they deserve.

The Silver Cup also do a traditional Sunday Roast (think Roast beef and all the trimmings or Middlewhite pork & crackling) if a gentle country stroll through the Hertfordshire countryside and lunch is more your style – it is exceedingly popular though so be sure to book a few weeks in advance.

The Silver Cup

5 St Albans Road


Al5 2JF

01582 713095

Restaurant Opening Hours

Dinner available Thursday to Saturday 6pm – 9pm 

Sunday Lunch 12pm – 4pm

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