Rainville Road, W6 9HA
It’s been a while since I’ve been out and about along the river, so it seemed apt to do so on the occasion of meeting a university friend for a long overdue catch up over dinner and some drinks. It had been a glorious April day but still the sudden torrential downpour which left us cowering under a single small umbrella seemed to be a surprise. Battling the elements along the towpath was unpleasant and upon arrival I resembled a drowned rat from Wind in the Willows just that little bit more than I would have liked.
Spare space either at the bar or at the large arrangement of tables was few and far between. We plonked ourselves unceremoniously at the bar, a small puddle gently forming by my feet, and perused the menu. The selection was large and the prices incredibly reasonable. It was then that we realised that this was in fact the bar menu. Not for tonight, but certainly one to earmark for future, hopefully sunnier, days. The restaurant is tucked away towards the back of the pub, a cosy location that leads on to a large outdoor seated area. Blackboards display the menu and there is a slight raised section where I imagine you would feel a whole world away from the busy pub atmosphere.
Eager to catch up we ignored the menu for a considerable period of time, choosing to focus on the abundant wine list instead; both settling on a glass of red described as ‘full bodied’ which seemed suitable for the occasion. The menu is extremely varied and quite chic for a pub. Snails, mussels and tuna sashimi feature as starters, with a wide range of exciting concoctions of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes for mains. After some considerations, such as whether the lamb was served on the bone and whether the fish was served with the head on (and in fact googling the origin of hake), we settled on our dishes and sat back to enjoy our wine.
Unable to wait for our mains to arrive, we ordered some bread which comes served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar rather than butter – a nice touch. The food arrived and our high level of excited chatter became little more than a hushed whisper. The lamb seemed a generous portion served on a bed of risotto, while my hake was cooked beautifully; nice and crispy skin while still flakey, the vegetable linguini was more vegetables and less linguini (but perhaps expecting some sort of pasta was my misinterpretation of the menu) and there was an abundance of clams to complement the fish perfectly. We were both quite content indeed.
The service was good and friendly and almost struck the right side of letting us chat without disturbance and being an invasive presence. However, it leant slightly too far to us feeling ignored and as if we were causing a massive inconvenience when deciding to order dessert. Thankfully we did, and boy was it a good choice. The selection was not as broad as the previous courses, and we probably chose the least adventurous, but I had honed in on the sticky toffee pudding when we arrived and little would change my mind. My friend had the brownie. Both were quite extravagant portions and served with ice cream and sauce. Cut into cuboid shape pieces, it didn’t quite have the home-made feel that I might have expected but this was a minor slight in what was a delightful explosion of hot, cold and sweet in my greedy little mouth.
Throughout the evening we chatted about the need to find a new local haunt, and while the Crabtree is rather out of the way, in the summer it could just fit the bill. Lovely food, great atmosphere though slightly on the high end price wise. A good fit for a slightly more special evening out with friends, date night or, eventually, a summer evening with good company just messing about on the river.
£30-5 for two courses including a glass of wine.