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Following on from The Fox & Grapes on Wimbledon Common, two-Michelin-starred Claude Bosi (of Hibiscus fame) is repeating the formula with this dressed-up version of a gastropub in SW6. Many of the building’s standout
Victorian features remain, but much of the interior has been classily overhauled – the wood panelling, Farrow & Ball tones and William Morris wallpaper all show impeccable taste. The food is
similarly impressive, and the kitchen conjures up a perfect balance of fresh and sometimes surprising flavours – witness a starter of salted bream tartare with lovage. Elsewhere, there’s
sophisticated comfort in the shape of slow-cooked veal shin with a richly spiced cherry sauce, while malted vanilla ice cream with salted caramel provides a simple, satisfying finale. A
well-pitched international wine list and eager, helpful staff provide the final flourishes for this sure-fire Fulham winner.
Claude Bosi’s second gastropub venture provides a clean, interesting and suitably concise wine list that is tight and easy to follow. Fans of the New World (indeed, anywhere bar France) will feel short-changed, but the wines are still interesting and fairly priced.
I am often busy being lazy at weekends and so never blog (it interferes with my lying on the sofa with a huge glass of wine doing nothing time) & so I have just realised that I haven't told you all about Pascal & my Friday night meal at The Malt House.The Malt House is a pub with rooms in Fulham Broadway. It is the sister pub to the very popular Fox & Grapes in Wimbledon which is owned by the Michelin starred chef Claude Bosi & his brother Cedric. Cedric manages the place as Claude spends most his time cooking at his two star restaurant Hibiscus. As the Fox & Grapes has proved so successful, they opened the Malt House in Fulham at the beginning of the year and the chef is former Hibiscus Head Chef Marcus McGuinness. I ate at the Fox & Grapes over the summer and had a fantastic meal so was keen to try their place in Fulham. As it was a weekend without Arabella, we popped along to Locale for a few pre dinner cocktails - I am very keen on their Elderflower Collins....We then wondered up to the Malt House & I was surprised about how big it is - it felt absolutely HUGE! It's nicely decorated - lots of white and light (I am a poet) & there was a particularly nice corner booth area if there were 4-5 of you - although despite the size of the restaurant, the tables were very close together which would be my only complaint. The bar was also massive - I doubt you would have a problem to ever find a spot there. The whole effect was aesthetically pleasing & you felt you were somewhere smart.We were shown to our table & ordered some water, wine, oat cakes & hummus & some bread & butter while we looked at the menu:http://www.malthousefulham.co.uk/static/Lunch_Menu_sept_2013.pdfPascal & I are massive hummus fans - I don't think there is ever a day when we don't have some in the fridge and we have been known just to eat it with a spoon out the pot if there is nothing to dip. Unfortunately this hummus did not live up to our expectations - it tasted more like babaganoush / auberginey. The oatcakes were not the usual kind and instead were more like a giant crisp bread but thankfully these were tasty as was the incredibly soft sourdough bread.For my starter I chose Kings Lynn Potted Shrimps with sourdough bread followed by......a blue cheese burger (I really need to be more imaginative)!!! Pascal went for Scottish Smoked Salmon with Lemon & Chive Creme Fraiche & then 42 Day Aged Steak, Onion & Ale Pie with chips - good British food!!I have always been a fan of potted shrimps as my dad used to make them with copious amounts of butter - I find them a good comfort food with some hot toast.The potted shrimps were good - like the hummus not what I was expecting as the butter was tomato based but they were still very appetising - plenty of shrimps and delicious sourdough toast.Pascal's smoked salmon was also very tasty.He gobbled it up with the sourdough bread and said the flavours together were a real delight although his only gripe was he would have liked some toast too. The service was very attentive & I am sure they would have happily bought him toast but he was too impatient to wait!Now my burger for mains was very good - obviously I had the burger at the Fox & Grapes & this one was even better as it came with blue cheese.I didn't eat the bun as it was too much (I had had pre pre starters at locale as well - shhhhhh - I was a little embarrassed to add that earlier) but the burger was cooked perfectly - medium, a big wedge of cheese, pickles, lettuce & mayonnaise - (way superior to Byron)!!The chips were fat chips and were crisp & fluffy but a bit too potatoey for me...Pascal's favourite type though.We both had a generous portion each & for once were defeated (a very rare occurrence)!Last but not least Pascal had a beef, ale and onion pie. Being French he had only ever had the chicken pie we make at home as isn't really a pie eater (?) but after his one here, I think that will all change.Huge chunks of meat & onion, delicious sauce & better pastry than "jus rol"! He loved it.All in all it was a good meal - good food, good service, good wine list - but, (there is always a but), as the pub is so big it did lack in atmosphere. There were several tables occupied but it still felt a empty. I think this would be a much better place to come for lunch at a weekend with a big group of friends, rather than dinner for 2 on a Friday night. On another note the garden is absolutely gorgeous, enclosed with little fairy lights and I expect hugely popular in the summer....I think they also do summer bbqs which I expect are a huge success....I think I will add that to my list for next year!!http://www.malthousefulham.co.uk/index.php17 Vanston Place,Fulham,LondonSW6 1AYTel: 020 7084 6888Email: [email protected]
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