At Clapton’s newly refurbished Windsor Castle, every inch has been spruced, smartened and straightened up, and it’s almost unrecognisable from its old self. The pool table’s gone; the pub boar is now stuffed and hangs above the bar in taxidermy form. A few local craft beers (Truman’s or Five Points, say) have been added to the long list of standards, and there are simple but proficently made cocktails. The Windsor’s chefs cook food fit for a king, comparatively speaking, or at least a future one. Dishes such as grilled mackerel with gooseberry, or trotter toast and pickles, are of a standard found nowhere else around here, although you may feel you need access to the privy purse to satisfy a big appetite. No one will get Fergie-sized on these portions.
The Windsor is definitely now a pub aimed at the Hackney gentrifiers rather than old-school Claptonites – whippets have replaced staffies as the beer garden dog of choice. However, when I visited, a few groups of more ‘traditional’ locals were showing the hipsters they weren’t for giving up their old pub. A slightly uneasy union: something the Windsors are used to.
Reviewed by Euan Ferguson
A local focus is evident in the beer selection, which lines up some of our favourite east London breweries with highlights from around the world: Five Points, ELB and Trumans are all on the hand pump, with Meantime, Brooklyn and Blue Moon accompanying them on tap, alongside some slightly more familiar faces for those of you who like their beer with minimum fuss. There's also an ever-evolving house drinks list which includes grapefruit & tequila, Hendricks & tonic with cucumber, an old fashioned, a bloody mary and a rhubarb bellini.
We have a range of events including free food feasts, supper clubs and much more. For tickets and more information follow us on Facebook @ The Windsor Castle Clapton.