On a sunny afternoon, the Spencer’s numerous tables on the edge of Putney Common are a joy, especially for families or dog owners. They’re large, solid, well-designed tables too, far better than the pub norm. The pub’s corner premises are pleasant enough, with big windows, grey-green wood panelling and the usual battered wooden tables and old school chairs; leather sofas and banquettes mark out the restaurant area. It all gets a bit noisy when busy, though, and there are no quiet corners in which to hide. Amiable bar staff deal efficiently with any queue, dispensing pints (three real ales plus standard lagers) or wine (a nicely priced list, with around 20 choices by the glass).
Food is a please-all selection of standards, including assorted burgers, pies (shepherd’s, fish), cumberland sausages and mash, chicken caesar salad and a few pasta dishes. Start with a classic prawn cocktail; finish with lemon tart or crème brûlée. It’s not adventurous, but execution is better than you might expect. Crab, chilli and parsley linguine came with copious amounts of fresh crab, and was a nicely balanced mix of flavours, though strangely devoid of any oil. Fish pie was creamy and packed with salmon, but marred by a too-sharp sauce. Sunday brings roasts with all the trimmings.