Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Tue Nov 30 1999
Some would hail this corner pub as being part of Kensington but, in truth, it's closer to Kensington Olympia which, let’s be honest, is one hell of a difference. That said, it’s still pretty posh round there.
Previously a bar called the Priory House, the site has been taken over by new owners (one of whom is the brother of DJ Judge Jules) and reborn as a pub that, wait for it, also serves food. Yes, it’s a gastropub. It’d be really useful for all involved if someone, somehow, came up with a different word for such a concept.
Anyway, back to this place.
So, they’ve opted for the eclectic antique approach. Ornate armchairs and gilded mirrors rub shoulders with old-school benches still housing Bunsen burner taps; there’s some modern, Warhol-esque art on the walls behind an imposing copper bar top.
Oh, there’s a couple of leather booths too. And a big red pillar in the middle. It kind of works.
Downstairs, the basement bar and loos rock a more Middle-Eastern/Mediterranean look, while the upstairs dining room prides itself on being a little bit posh. The staff were eager and friendly.
On tap, there’s Greene King IPA, Staropramen and a cask ale called St Edmunds which can be served with either a ‘southern pour’ or a ‘northern pour’. The southern pour is crisper with an enhanced hop bitterness and loose bubbles while the north pour is smoother, creamier with a tighter, thicker head and tastes better when drunk next to a sooty-faced whippet.
The wine list is extensive but £24.50 for a 2009 Pays d’Oc seemed rather steep.
The food menu, they say, boasts some great British dishes with some colonial favourites. Rather than ladling soup from umbrella stands carved out of elephant's feet, it means curried Cornish crab samosas, chicken madras and everyone’s favourite colonial classic: beef burger with cheese and hand-cut chips.
The best seat in the house may well be outside, where you can settle down at some mosaic tables and soak in the semi-salubrious surroundings.