Some things are worth the wait.
That’s how I felt when Fourpenny House opened on La Mesa Boulevard back in April.
This Scottish-themed pub has been in the works for at least two years before it opened its doors right in La Mesa’s quaint downtown.
8323 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa
It was a long haul, probably made more challenging by the decision to brew beer on the premises.
So it wasn’t easy, especially since the building housing the Fourpenny House was converted into a restaurant space after previously being a real estate agency, among other things.
No, it wasn’t easy, but Fourpenny House succeeds in what its supposed to be: A family-friendly pub with nice beer, good food and convivial atmosphere, and its doing this in a city where citizens notoriously go to sleep at 9:30 p.m.
Fourpenny House has a rustic vibe, like a pub that has been around for years. There’s even a big table in the back where people can sit and perhaps get to know each other. Much of the decor is made from reclaimed items, such as farm doors on the bathrooms.
It’s relaxing and comfortable, even on nights when there is a crowd singing along with a troubadour in the front area.
As many as four styles of house-made beer may be available at a time, but I’ve only tried two: The Fourpenny Ale ($8), a malty brew with notes of caramel. It’s smooth, but has a pleasant bitter tone that goes well with food. It’s not excessively hoppy so it should appeal to people who don’t like that hairball feeling down their throat; and the Blonde Ale, a hot weather beer, refreshing.
I’ve been happy when I’ve eaten there, especially with what is turning into their signature dish: The Scotch Egg ($15): a soft-boiled egg wrapped in sausage before being breaded and deep-fried.
The egg is served with brown gravy, mashed potatoes, and root vegetables — comfort food at its best. I am hoping we have lots of rainy days this year, because this will be my jam.
My vegetarian wife and I enjoyed the curry roasted cauliflower ($11), a floret served in yellow curry and yogurt sauce with mango ginger chutney on the side. The cauliflower had a crunch to it, and the curry reminded me why India was considered the jewel of the British empire.
Curry, particularly tikka masala, plays a role in the chips and curry sauce ($9). The potatoes are covered in a beer batter before being fried to a nice crisp texture. The curry sauce adds heat and is a change of pace from ketchup or sriracha.
On Sunday, the evening menu shifts from the regular menu of pub grub in favor of a Sunday roast. For $26, diners have their choice of roasted salmon, lamb, strip loin, or free-range chicken, served with mashed potatoes and turnips, root veggies, and a specialty scone for dessert.
I had the strip loin, and it was cooked with pinkness in the middle. I loved the brown gravy and the root veggies, and the apricot scone was a nice closer to the meal.
There were no vegetarian options for the roast, but the chef made my wife a mushroom barley risotto. I’d order it for myself.