Monday, June 2, 2008

The Prince Bonaparte, Westbourne Grove

The Prince Bonaparte used to have a reputation as a trendy Westbourne Grove establishment - a celeb hangout and place to be seen. Over the last couple of years it lost its sheen and service slipped.

Now, it's hauling itself back into favour. It's got a lot on its side - good location, big, bright, airy room, a big three-sided bar and good beers on tap. Besides, we weren't here for alcohol, we were here for food. It was Friday lunchtime and ten of us turned up without booking. We use the Bonaparte quite regularly, if only because it's a bit of a barren land for restaurants and we occasionally get bored of the Thai at The Walmer Castle.

There is a fairly big restaurant section at the back of the pub but it's gloomy in comparison to the large wooden tables and bench seating at the front, where the sun streams in from the huge windows. The only table able to seat us all had dirty glasses and plates all over it and, despite there only being two other tables taken, it took them fifteen minutes to clear it. They left a bunch of dying flowers. We also noticed a rather twee sign: 'Look after your belongings and we'll look after you, The Prince Bonaparte xx'.  Are kisses really necessary?

But I digress: the food. I ordered the 8oz handmade West Country Casterbridge beef burger with maris piper chips and tabasco ketchup. Others in the group order the 10oz version, that comes with corn on the cob and coleslaw as well. The meat is delicious and it's nice to see it cooked in the open air kitchen located to the right of the bar. The bun is a little too weak to cope with the massive beef tomato and crisp lettuce but there is just the right amount of chips. The corn on the cob is apparently a little tough but the coleslaw very good. Leffe battered haddock with chips and mushy peas is devoured eagerly, as is a chicken wrap.

All in all a very good lunch.

One course and a soft drink: £10.50 per head

Value: 8/10

Service: 6/10

Atmosphere: 7/10

Food: 7/10

SCORE: 28/40

The Prince Bonaparte, 80 Chepstow Road, London, W2 5BE. Tel: 020 73139491.

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