Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Prince of Wales, Putney

I have visited the Prince of Wales in Putney many times since it reopened under new management last year but never for food. This is partly because my boyfriend's tastes are much simpler than mine and partly because I haven't been desperate to eat there. I'm not sure what it was that made me feel like that - the menu is simple but exciting and reviews from both critics and friends alike have been good but in the end the decision was made for me when a group of us decided to eat out and the restaurant was not my choice.

Booking was, apparently, a simple affair and we arrived to a warm welcome on a Thursday night, at 7.30pm the first to be seated. The dining room is smart and airy, the only anomaly being the busy, heavy curtains and seemingly irrelevant Bond poster. We were offered bread whilst we chose our food, lovely soft sodabread which seemed to have rosemary on but unfortunately I couldn't taste it. Having heard tales of the large portions we skipped starters and all ordered the steak pie to share between 2, which was advertised as coming with red cabbage and mashed potato. We also ordered two portions of spring greens between the six of us.

The bread came around again before our mains arrived and the service was all smiles: an excellent start. The steak pie was more than worth the wait whilst the pastry cooked. Reminiscent of my grandmother's cooking, cutting through the crisp then fluffy top I found the most tender, flavoursome steak I have had in years, with gravy and vegetables a match in quality. The waitress had unnecessarily added an extra mash to our order and, disappointingly, had thought we wanted spring greens instead of red cabbage and they were a bit cold but luckily we were too caught up in our pie to be cross.

Puddings were just too tempting to pass on. Between us we tried raspberry ripple ice cream ('very good'), caramelised bananas with rum and raisin ice cream ('delicious') and Yorkshire mess, which was very tasty but could have done with a little bit more rhubarb and a bit less cream, but I'm splitting hairs. It was the best meal out I have had in a long time, it inspired me to start this blog. A bit of confusion over the bill at the end was a shame but again didn't spoil. A fabulous local eaterie.

Two courses and half a bottle of wine: £27.50 per head

Value: 8/10

Service: 6/10

Atmosphere: 7/10

Food: 8/10

SCORE: 29/40

Prince of Wales Pub and Kitchen, 138 Upper Richmond Road, London, SW15 2SP. Tel: 020 8788 1552.

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