With the Albert Bridge closed for repairs, this big, corner site gastropub – a mere minute’s march from where soldiers are required to break step – should have become a quiet backwater, as passing traffic has virtually ceased.
Not so. Our Friday night visit revealed a proper hootenanay in progress. The pub was filled with stiff-shirted men quaffing ale, women in tight skirts fingering their chardonnays, well-groomed dogs on leads (it’s opposite Battersea Park), and barely a seat to be had if you were intent on dining.
A small and harried but incredbily efficient team of bar staff sorted out a table after a short wait (even the bar stools are bookable here). This being a Geronimo Inn – a capital chains that puts the quality of drink and food first – the drinks selection from both vine and grain is excellent, including a toothsome guest ale from Norfolk on our visit.
The menu plays fairly safe – fish and chips, macaroni cheese, fishcakes. From the specials chalked on a blackboard, we tried the goats’ cheese salad, the little rounds breaded and fried like that 1970s bistro favourite, deep-fried camembert.
Both this and the salad of smoked salmon contained an interesting selection of salad leaves, as you’d hope at £7.50 for a starter.
Main courses prices were also on the steep side for a gastropub, but the kitchen did a good job with the lamb chops (£13.50) – we’d actually ordered pork, but the place was too busy and the wait too long to send the order back.
This Prince Albert has been open for a few years now and is starting to fray, but it still looks good – the interior’s a beauty, in a Country Living way, and its popularity seems well earned. Just avoid the seats by the exit to the back yard (their ‘garden’), if you can, because the banging swing doors are in continuous use by inebriated smokers.