The Pikey Brings Back Welsh Rarebit, the Ugly Duckling of British Pub Food

The Pikey's Welsh Rarebit looking a little sad

The Pikey's Welsh Rarebit, looking a little sad

After taking in a Dodgers game Reed and I ended up at the Pikey, 7617 W Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, for a late night dinner.  The Pikey, L.A.’s newest British themed gastropub, has a chef the comes from the Spotted Pig so my expectations were high and they only got higher when I saw Welsh Rarebit on the menu.It's a little dark inside the Pikey

Welsh Rarebit could be the love child of a Le Pain Quotidien tartine and a grilled cheese sandwich. With an unfortunate name and homely appearance, the only reason Welsh Rarebit has is still around is because it’s so yummy.  I was happy to see that the Pikey was bringing it back.The Menu at the PikeyStill dark in the Pikey

This  warm, gooey combination of cheese, bread, and beer can be whipped up during the span of a commercial break. Making it the perfect dinner while your watching the London Summer Olympics.Ingredients for Welsh Rarebit

While I’m skeptical about watching football, baseball and basketball games, I’ll happily sit through hours of random rhythmic gymnastic events, rowing, and fencing competitions. I’ll be rooting for the Americans (you go Rafalca!) but Bob Costas has been known to sway my allegiance with a good tear jerker of a personal interest story and all of a sudden I really want the little Russian gymnast to win. One more week… I can’t wait.

Stirring in the mustard, salt and pepper

Stirring in the mustard, salt and pepper

Adding the cheese and other ingredients

Adding the cheese and other ingredients

But back to the Pikey, our waitress wasn’t sure if they’d run out of Welsh Rarebit for the night and she went back to check for me. That sounds ok but Welsh Rarebit isn’t the sort of dish you run out of.  Restaurants run out of scallops, osso bucco or pulled pork but Welsh Rarebit is made with kitchen staples and takes 10 minutes to prepare. This should have tipped me off that something was amiss at the Pikey.

Toasted bread spread with chili garlic sauce

Toasted bread spread with chili garlic sauce

When the Welsh Rarebit arrived I was happy to see the Pikey had run it under the broiler. There are two schools of thought about Welsh Rarebit. Some people treat it as an English style fondue. Others slather the bread with a cheese mixture brown it under the broiler.  I’m with the broiler school of thought.

Unfortunately, I think the guys at the Pikey put my Welsh Rarebit under the broiler five hours ago. It was probably really good when it first came out but by the time I got it the cheese was rubbery and the bread was dried out.Welsh Rarebit before going under the broiler

I was disappointed but Reed’s fish and chips was good and fresh so I had a bite of his. Besides the disappointing Welsh Rarebit, the Pikey was very nice, very faux British and from the other reviews I’ve read their Welsh Rarebit is generally well received. I think I just happened to get a bad one. My advice is that if your waitress thinks they might be out of the Rarebit, order something else.Welsh Rarebit

I wanted my Welsh Rarebit to as pretty as it could be but no luck. Instead of nicely browning it developed blackened spots. It was too close to the broiler. Unfortunately, nothing is adjustable about my broiler.  I’d recommend turning your broiler to low or moving the rack a few more inches away from it to achieve better browning. Even though it wasn’t pretty, it was full of hot, cheesy goodness. Sometimes you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Welsh Rarebit (serves 2)

(Active time: 4 minutes     Total time: 10 minutes)

  • 2  thick slices white bread
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp beer
  • pinch black pepper
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp chili garlic sauce

Turn the boiler on to low. Toast bread on both sides until lightly browned. Stir together remaining ingredients except chili garlic sauce. Spread 1 tsp chili sauce on each piece of bread. Dividing evenly spread cheese mixture over bread slices to the edges. Return to broiler until top is brown and bubbly, 2-3 minutes.

*Serve Welsh Rarebit is great served with a light salad.

-My Welsh Rarebit recipe was inspired by the PIKEY and  Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Wicked Welsh Rarebit

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