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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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