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The Duke of Clarence

Bars and pubs, Gastropubs Earl’s Court
3 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)

A decent local with a makeover to take it to the next level.

There seems to be no end to the catalogue of pubs Geronimo Inns has identified as in need of a scrub-up. But fair play to the pub group – many of these pimped-up watering holes have gone on to be successful locals. One of the latest on this list of success stories is Kensington’s The Duke of Clarence. The pub is equidistant from South Kensington and Earl’s Court tube stations and pledges its allegiance to this fancy part of town with a new look. The big windows make it light and airy, its pale green walls make the place feel spacious while eclectic decorations are fitted to the walls. Leather furniture on wooden floors give a cosy, comforting feel. And a small fire in the corner turned out to be one of the most popular spots for couples.

Emphasis is on good but expensive food, with beer a secondary concern highlighted by the rather small selection on offer. That said, The Duke’s seasonal ale (which is made by Young’s) was not a bad drop. Meat-based bar snacks – sausage rolls, scotch eggs and scratchings – land around the £4.50 mark, small plates double that and if you’re looking at one of the pub’s signature steaks, your bill for one person could easily be up to £40. And for that price (as good as it was), I’d want to be eating somewhere other than down the pub.

Locals – and it was mainly locals I spied on my visit – seem to have no qualms about dining with the Duke, though. On my mid-Saturday morning visit almost every table had been booked for lunch. And that fancy new look suits this fancy lunchtime crowd no end.

By: Dave Faulkner


Venue name: The Duke of Clarence
Address: 148 Old Brompton Road South Kensington
Transport: Tube: South Kensington
Price: £25 and under
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Average User Rating

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A good gastropub serves good food, a decent selection of craft beer on tap and a cosy atmosphere. I am pleased to confirm that, from my experience, the Duke of Clarence is a good gastropub. 

Firstly, the decor. It’s quirky with a touch of vintage to it with vintage movie posters from bygone eras adorning its walls. It’s airy inside too with a tiled bar and wooden stripe flooring. 

The food is also excellent with a mix of pub favourites to modern, contemporary dishes. The glazed chicken and waffle went down very well, as did the tender and succulent steak.

My only qualms would be it’s a bit out of the way for most people (the nearest tube station is Gloucester Road and even that is about 10-15 minutes walk). It’s a good pub but so is our local so I wouldn’t journey all the way to check the Duke of Clarence out. Those who live in the surrounding (very lucky people to even be living in Kensington) can consider themselves extra lucky for having the Duke of Clarence around the corner.

It belongs to a chain of pubs owned by Geronimo Inn and Young’ Pub, but that’s no biggy. If you’re in the surrounding area of Kensington and looking for a good pub. The Duke of Clarence would make an excellent choice. 

I don't know what happened in this pub a week last Friday (6th June) but it must have been a near meltdown in the kitchen. It's rare to go to a pub these days and be served food as filthy as we were given. In no particular order: 1) they got two of the orders wrong (the special said sea bream but mackerel came instead and we were told there would be a 20 minute wait if we wanted the correct fish!) 2) the burger was so dry, it was like dog food 3) the pasta was so overcooked it had to go back, untouched 4) the scallops were raw - when we sent them back, the kitchen obviously microwaved the plate as it came back scorching, scallops still raw 5) the bread was stale - admittedly they did replace that when we pointed this out. To be honest the saving grace was one of the waitresses, who was sweet and attentive. The manger  did also exercise a degree of discretion and take 20% off the bill and choose not to charge us for two of the plates. But really? If I owned a pub and served food of this quality, I might just say - have this one on me - after all, this is food served in supposedly high class West London, at between £11 and £17 a main course. It's unacceptable and I won't be going back. I don't normally turn to online reviews to provide criticism of this level but if you've offered a restaurant an opportunity to rectify their mistake on the night and they choose not to, there's very little else that you can do.

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