Little changes at this gastropub in the backstreets of Barnes: from the cordial welcome to the pleasing decor to the well-judged menu. Chunky wooden tables and green leather banquette seating, stripped floorboards and cream panelling provide an upmarket yet friendly look; big windows make it bright by day, while copper globe lights and a polished red ceiling give a cosy glow at night. At the back is a sunny courtyard.
There are two real ales and a decent wine list, but most customers are here to dine. Simplicity is key to the shortish menu, which makes a virtue out of unfussy seasonal dishes that require minimal preparation and have wide appeal – an approach other pubs could emulate. So you’ll find oysters, a half pint of prawns, dressed crab, steaks and straightforward fish dishes, with plenty of salads and chips. A succulent burger with fluffy chips, and leek and mushroom pie with smooth mash and crisp french beans – both hit the spot. Puds combine comfort and richness to pleasing effect, majoring in chocolate, seasonal fruit and top-notch ice-creams.
If you’re in the West End, consider sister pub the Duke of Wellington in Marylebone. Design and vibe are similar to the Brown Dog’s, but turned up a notch, so the upstairs restaurant sports white tablecloths and a fancier menu.