Please note, the Windsor Castle is now closed. Time Out Editors, November 2019.
At Clapton’s newly refurbished Windsor Castle, every inch has been spruced, smartened and straightened up, and it’s almost unrecognisable from its old self. The pool table’s gone; the pub boar is now stuffed and hangs above the bar in taxidermy form. A few local craft beers (Truman’s or Five Points, say) have been added to the long list of standards, and there are simple but proficently made cocktails. The Windsor’s chefs cook food fit for a king, comparatively speaking, or at least a future one. Dishes such as grilled mackerel with gooseberry, or trotter toast and pickles, are of a standard found nowhere else around here, although you may feel you need access to the privy purse to satisfy a big appetite. No one will get Fergie-sized on these portions.
The Windsor is definitely now a pub aimed at the Hackney gentrifiers rather than old-school Claptonites – whippets have replaced staffies as the beer garden dog of choice. However, when I visited, a few groups of more ‘traditional’ locals were showing the hipsters they weren’t for giving up their old pub. A slightly uneasy union: something the Windsors are used to.
Reviewed by Euan Ferguson