Dog-friendly restaurants in London

Everyone knows that us Brits love hanging out with our canine pals, so if you’re looking for restaurants in London where dogs are allowed, you’ve come to the right place. If you want to try some dishes with your dog in your lap, then pick f

Posted on 14 September 2017

Dog-friendly restaurants in London

Check out London’s great choice of dog-friendly restaurants with Squaremeal’s selection. If you’d rather not leave your pets at home, there are plenty of places in London where they’re welcome. Find out where to dine with your doggie via Squaremeal’s carefully selected list of the most dog-friendly restaurants in London. Every one of the restaurants featured in Squaremeal’s list of London’s most dog-friendly restaurants has been tried and tested by food critics and our readers, so check out the reviews and book a table with Squaremeal today.


The Victoria - Sheen

The Victoria - Sheen

£30 - £49
Gastropub

10 West Temple Sheen, London, SW14 7RT

With a popular primary school behind and some of Richmond’s largest houses around the corner, The Victoria has its market on its doorstep. From breakfast to supper time, the place hums with activity, though is seldom overstretched. Celeb chef Paul Merrett’s menu ticks all the right boxes – properly poached eggs and decent coffee to start the day, moving on to appealing bar nibbles and snacks (almonds, king prawns a la plancha, chorizo) or a full-on menu. Merrett’s cooking has always been a draw, and with the likes of pan-fried sea trout on mussel and celeriac chowder, high-quality steaks with proper béarnaise sauce, and a Sunday slow-roast pork with apple sauce, he’s keeping everyone happy. The large enclosed playground allows children to let off steam at the weekend while their frazzled parents pore gratefully over the wine list or sample one of the cask ales from a choice line-up.

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Daphne

Daphne's

£50 - £79
Italian
£30 - £49

112 Draycott Avenue, SW3 3AE

A neighbourhood bolthole and gastronomic destination rolled into one, Daphne’s is the very personification of its Kensington clientele – handsome, refined and utterly assured. From the dark-pink marble bar with its green leather stools to the European modern art and baroque conservatory for private dining, this space resembles a tasteful and expensively clad Italian townhouse, complete with classic Jags and idling chauffeurs parked outside the concertina doors. The kitchen specialises in bold regional flavours: creamy burrata with intense cherry tomatoes and grilled focaccia; octopus carpaccio with crispy soft-shell crab; pappardelle with wild boar ragù; roast rump of lamb with caponata and salsa verde; seared slabs of tuna atop sweet peperonata. For dessert, the strawberry gelato is guaranteed to clear any rainclouds away. As you’d expect from Caprice Holdings, flawless and personable service is a given, while waiters “with a good sense of humour” take pleasure in steering drinkers through the exhaustive Italian wine list.

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The Drapers Arms

The Drapers Arms

£30 - £49
Gastropub

44 Barnsbury Street, London, N1 1ER

It may look gentrified, but The Drapers Arms is a lively place, with the ground-floor bar humming like a good ’un when the locals flock in. The Georgian building’s fine features have been left well alone, which makes for spaces of generous proportions and classic design. To drink, there are real ales at the bar and a wine list offering glass and carafe options. Head upstairs to the serene dining room to escape the hubbub (assuming it’s not booked for a private party). A patio garden provides another alternative in summer. The kitchen satisfies with its mix of modern comfort food, such as the house cheeseburger, but is equally happy knocking up duck breast with roasted black plums, or packing guinea fowl, bacon and mushrooms into a pie. To finish, gingerbread pudding competes with Neal’s Yard Dairy cheeses with crab apple jelly (is it OK to have both?).

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M Victoria Street

M Victoria Street

£50 - £79
Steak

Zig Zag Building, Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6SQ

The second behemoth establishment from Martin Williams (ex-Gaucho) has landed in chain-heavy Victoria Street, incorporating cavernous basement dining rooms, public and private members’ bars and a mezzanine wine shop upstairs. As at the original City operation, dining is divided into two distinct areas: M Raw serves Japanese and Peruvian small plates from an open-kitchen; M Grill is devoted to meat, complete with an amphitheatre-style dining room. Choose either the raw or grilled route before taking your seat. A muted slate colour palette, softened by dusky blues and copper finishes, will please the corporate crowd, as will a standalone bar serving wallet-busting cocktails. The raw-bar menu of sushi and sashimi has been boosted by Wagyu steak tartare, which arrives under a smoke-filled cloche, laced with sweet-sour apple and topped by a glowing orb-like egg yolk. Over at M Grill, punters can opt for beef from one of six countries (Italian is a new addition); our rosy slab of USDA black Angus fillet (£49) sliced like butter. Delve further into the meaty menu and you’ll discover pig’s head served as salty crisp pulled-pork croquettes, slow-cooked cheek and moreish pig’s ear crackling. The dessert list is short yet not especially sweet; dulce mousse with buckwheat, bacon and sweetcorn ice cream is an acquired taste. Oenophiles fare better, thanks to a varied global wine list and the option to try before you buy. M looks set to nail the corporate market, but whether locals too will meet here remains to be seen.

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Greenberry Café

Greenberry Café

£30 - £49
International

101 Regent’s Park Road, Camden, London, NW1 8UR

Primrose Hill was once nicknamed Greenberry Hill (a punning reference to the notorious hangings of Messrs Green, Berry and Hill back in the day) – hence the title of this eclectic, all-purpose eatery. Flexibility is the name of the game as the kitchen goes on a globe-trotting tour taking in everything from viennoiserie for breakfast to all-day ‘traiteur’ plates of Ibérico Bellota ham, salt beef sandwiches or pickled herring zakuski with beetroot, horseradish and sour cream. The full menu also stretches its legs, promising the likes of sea bream ceviche, miso-glazed aubergines or breast of Creedy Carver chicken with imam bayaldi, ahead of tarte Tatin or raw and roast pineapple with pain d’épice, coconut and kaffir lime sorbet. The food is supported by a lively list of beers and terroir-led wines that also goes walkabout in search of quality.

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Ben

Ben's Canteen Clapham Junction

Under £30
International

140 St John’s Hill, London, SW11 1SL

 

The work of a former employee of Vice magazine, the Ben’s Canteen mini-chain more or less had a mandate to be cool from the word go – but it also manages to be a laid-back, welcoming hangout whose Aussie vibe and expansive menu fit the bill for every time of day, from breakfast to one-for-the-road cocktails. Brunch is a strong point, with a trio of celebrated burgers (try the buttermilk chicken version) competing in the calorie stakes with the likes of pulled pork and poached eggs slathered with hollandaise sauce, plus Down Under drinks that range from a tongue-in-cheek glass of ice-cold Berocca, to rum-heavy iced coffee. The over-indulgence continues into lunch and dinner via ‘nduja-studded mac ‘n’ cheese, peanut butter-laced milkshakes and yet more burgers – all of which come with pairing suggestions from the dynamic global wine list. The dining rooms have a folksy, cosy feel, with lights strung around the ceiling and patchily whitewashed walls and furniture. Don’t be surprised to arrive for brunch and find yourself still there, soaking up the atmosphere, come bedtime.

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PipsDish Covent Garden

PipsDish Covent Garden

£30 - £49
International

15 Exeter Street, WC2E 7DT

Author and foodie go-getter Philip Dundas created PipsDish as a garage pop-up in Islington before going permanent. This new venture is more ambitious than its Hoxton predecessor, although it’s a quirky world away from Covent Garden’s slick chains and old pros such as Joe Allen next door. The dining room has been kitted out with a “memory lane jumble” of movie posters, photos and a Narnia-esque wardrobe, and the cooking struck us as equally chaotic, with some poorly judged flavours and sloppy presentation – although others have fared better, praising the smoky ham hock terrine with sweet onion chutney and an aromatic “soupy” goose curry with chickpeas. There’s no menu, so you eat whatever Dundas is cooking that day – perhaps lemon chicken with fennel or oxtail with preserved bergamot. No reservations, though you can book for theatre suppers and Saturday brunch.

The Clerkenwell Kitchen

The Clerkenwell Kitchen

Under £30
Cafes
£30 - £49

27-31 Clerkenwell Close, London, EC1R 0AT

More of a daytime drop-in than a full-on restaurant, this soothing space on quiet Clerkenwell Close is what's modishly referred to as a ‘kitchen'. Limited weekday-only opening times suggest that it’s aimed primarily at locally based architects and media types, who regularly take advantage of the cafe’s neat wooden tables and sunny terrace out back. Shelves of cookbooks and a ‘homemade' ethos emphasise serious foodie intent, which shows in a modest daily roster of unintimidating lunch dishes such as watercress soup followed by char-grilled squid with roast potatoes, green beans and marjoram, plus poached pears and pannacotta for afters. Cakes, pastries and classic sandwiches on organic sourdough flesh out the offer, while drinks run from homemade lemonade to a fistful of wines. Note that the café is now open for supper on Thursdays.

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The Orange

The Orange

£30 - £49
Gastropub

37-39 Pimlico Road, London, SW1W 8NE

Attracting a younger crowd than its swanker sibling The Thomas Cubitt, this huge Belgravia gastropub earns its keep with plenty of buzz on the boozy ground floor and the wood-fired oven pumping out fresh, crisp pizzas, while the bartenders pull pints of Canopy beer and mix the odd cocktail. Upstairs, others make reservations for dinner and there’s proper table service in a serene space that resembles a country pub dining room. The kitchen does a good trade in pizzas up here too, but it also turns its hand to more cheffy dishes such as grilled sardines with coddled egg and sheep’s cheese, balsamic braised lamb pie with sour-cream mash, or gingerbread with port figs and brown bread parfait. Order ahead if you want your own joint to share for Sunday lunch. “Very moreish” says one fan, who is also quick to praise the “very accommodating, helpful and patient staff”.

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The Abbeville

The Abbeville

£30 - £49
Gastropub

67-69 Abbeville Road, SW4 9JW

A quiet neighbourhood hostelry in the heart of ‘Abbeville Village’, The Abbeville has been given the full gastropub makeover. There’s mismatched furniture, painted bare-brick walls, French windows and a mezzanine dining area. The menu doesn’t stray far from the tried and tested gastro stalwarts, but the kitchen isn’t shy of using up-to-the-minute flavours such as beef onglet given a burn with horseradish paste and served with fries and spinach, or sea bream teamed with potatoes and chorizo. The bar menu has a forte in fried fish. A decent wine list is helpfully divided into varietals, but drinkers who prefer the grain have well-kept beers (including Timothy Taylor Landlord) to pique their interest. The local Olivers and Emmas love the place, and it makes a great venue for parties.

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The Crooked Well

The Crooked Well

£30 - £49
Gastropub

16 Grove Lane, London, SE5 8SY

Sitting snugly on one of Camberwell's finest Georgian streets, this high-ceilinged, high-spec gastropub looks the part with its worn floorboards, metro tiles, vintage lighting and Toile de Jouy wallpaper. The kitchen delivers “consistently good food” and fashionable plates ranging from crispy salt-and-pepper squid with spiced mayo to mackerel with white beans, courgettes and chorizo or pork belly with sauté savoy cabbage, sage and apple purée. Sharing dishes such as chicken, leek and wild mushroom pie or pineapple sponge with golden syrup also make this a great choice for a dinner à deux, while midweek lunch deals (Tues-Fri) offer two courses for a tenner. Ales from the likes of Butcombe and Whitstable Bay get the thumbs-up and the wine list ventures beyond usual pub clichés. The Crooked Well also has some of the “most friendly and welcoming staff in London”, according to one regular.

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The Brown Dog

The Brown Dog

£30 - £49
Gastropub
£50 - £79

28 Cross Street, London, SW13 0AP

If The Brown Dog were any easier to find in the backstreets of Barnes, it would be even harder to get a table here in busy periods. Drinkers are welcome to prop up the bar in one room with a pint of well-kept local ale (Sambrook’s Wandle, Twickenham’s Autumn Blaze) or a glass of wine from the decent list. Diners make their way to the other room for pleasing seasonal soups (white onion with black olive tapenade, say) and a daily roster of dishes running from wild garlic, ricotta and lemon ravioli to chicken and chorizo pie with mash or whole grilled sea bass with samphire and Jersey royals. Steaks and burgers also have their say, while desserts might bring baked rhubarb cheesecake with ginger crème fraîche. The garden come into its own on sunny weekends, when staff often light the barbecue.

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The Happenstance

The Happenstance

Bars
International

10 Paternoster Square, London, EC4M 7DX

Out of the same Drake & Morgan stable as The Folly, The Drift, et al, this “eclectic” bar/restaurant behemoth in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral pulls off the please-all style of its elder siblings. Busy but gimmicky postmodern decor, “frantic” loud music and tricksy detailing are right on target for a young City crowd, and we’ve been impressed by the “absolutely pristine” upkeep of the place. It can seem a bit like style over content, but The Happenstance wins approval with its comfy surrounds, “imaginative” drinks and “extremely varied” menu. Food kicks off with 'fully loaded breakfasts' before plundering brunch classics, small plates, sharing platters, “thick and juicy” burgers, salads, steaks and much more besides, while tipples range from big-name lagers and wines to a range of cocktails.

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The Allegory

The Allegory

Under £30
Bars
International

1A Principal Place, Worship Street, London, EC2A 2FA

Occupying a sizeable plot within Shoreditch's vibrant new hub, Principal Place, The Allegory is the latest site to join Drake & Morgan’s burgeoning portfolio. Featuring a large open-plan bar and plenty of outdoor seating, it’s geared towards the young City crowd whose office doorsteps it sits on, and those looking for something a little tamer than the edgy joints the area is famous for. Cosy candlelit corners make dining after sundown an intimate affair, while the kitchen turns out a mostly solid, if a little predictable, menu. The fresh dishes, including the heritage beetroot with whipped goat’s cheese and walnuts, and pan-fried salmon with tenderstem broccoli were full of flavour, but our crab bruschetta was a little bland. The Allegory doesn’t push any boundaries, but if a stylish setting, super-friendly staff and a well-stocked bar appeal, you’ll feel right at home.  

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The George Tavern

The George Tavern

£30 - £49
Gastropub

373 Commercial Road, London, E1 0LA

Shadwell’s unkempt George Tavern may not be much to look at, but it has become a formidable cultural powerhouse under the aegis of artist-musician landlady Pauline Forster. It’s in a pretty dodgy-looking locale and, frankly, it fits right in with its graffiti-ed loos, ramshackle smokers’ patio and scuzzy vinyl upholstery. As a boozer, it’s basic. Cheap grub (£5 lasagne or cottage pie) and inexpensive drinks (the usual crowd – Guinness, Stella, generic spirits) are less of a draw than the scene itself. The George is best known for live music, but there’s a gallery and a range of spaces for theatre and cutting-edge performance. Both staff and venue are friendlier than they look.

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The Thomas Cubitt

The Thomas Cubitt

£30 - £49
Gastropub

44 Elizabeth Street, London, SW1W 9PA

The smartest of a trio of Belgravia gastropubs that also includes The Orange and The Alfred Tennyson, this perfectly proportioned Regency townhouse is appropriately named after one of London’s most renowned master builders. The ground-floor boozer (and a fair amount of the pavement outside) play host to drinkers and socialisers who can pick from an easy-going menu of pub staples ranging from chilli/salt squid to lamb burgers and fish and chips. Those wanting a smarter, more intimate repast head upstairs to the pretty Regency dining room, where the wine list takes precedence over the beer taps, and the cooking cranks up a notch – think seared scallops on radish tagliatelle or Middle White pork chop with black pudding, caramelised onions and some sweetly acidic gooseberries. Helpings are generous, but it’s worth bracing yourself for puds such as lemon and raspberry baked Alaska. “A really good local restaurant – not the cheapest, but a great vibe”, concludes one fan.  

 

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The Grazing Goat

The Grazing Goat

£30 - £49
Gastropub

6 New Quebec Street, London, W1H 7RQ

Out of the same stable as The Thomas Cubitt in Belgravia, this light & airy kid on the block has recently added eight guest rooms, making it a good-to-know-about B&B spot as well as pub/restaurant. All pale wood & oatmeal textiles, the street-level boozer serves an interesting selection of beers, including Meantime’s Union lager, as well as house cocktails, fresh juices & a reasonable choice of wines by the glass. Sunday roasts are popular, & the rest of the time a mix of suits & Portman Village locals populate the bar or slightly more formal upstairs dining room, eating simple but neatly presented dishes such as chicken-liver parfait topped with melting red wine jelly, warmly praised burgers or seared tuna with a smoked tomato sauce. Portions are generous, making it more feasting than grazing.

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The Ladbroke Arms

The Ladbroke Arms

Pubs

54 Ladbroke Road, London, W11 3NW

The front terrace of this handsome boozer could well be in the running for a Britain in Bloom award, so abundant are its well-tended floral displays. On balmy evenings, the crowds spill out onto the pavement, armed with trays of liquid refreshment. A couple of seasonal ales are always on tap, but this is Notting Hill, so you’ll also find an extensive wine list, including a range of ‘natural’ reds from France. Inside, the airy bar gives way to a cosy raised dining room with a Gallic-influenced menu touting the likes of salt-cod brandade or sautéed kidneys with bacon. Unfortunately, reports of long waits for food suggest the kitchen may be stretching itself too far. Stick to the drinks and bar snacks and you won’t be disappointed.

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The Albion - Thornhill Road

The Albion - Thornhill Road

£30 - £49
British
Gastropub

10 Thornhill Road, London, N1 1HW

With polished wooden panelling, inviting wing-back chairs and handsome church pews inside its graceful Georgian premises, The Albion welcomes winter visitors. But come summertime, you won’t find a spare inch in either the front courtyard or the large, comely, wisteria-draped beer garden out back. Both the kitchen and waiting staff can sometimes struggle to stay calm and match the demand. Food is traditional British with a tweak. At lunchtime, yummy mummies nibble on purple sprouting broccoli with poached egg and truffled hollandaise, followed by treacle orange tart with crème fraîche. In the evenings, the charcoal grill sizzles, and on Sundays there are roasts (for one, or to share). Prices are more restaurant than pub, but so is the wine list – and there are the usual ales and lagers behind the bar.

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The Scolt Head

The Scolt Head

£30 - £49
Gastropub

107a Culford Road, London, N1 4HT

‘People think I’m going to read them a story,’ says the barmaid, as she opens the Rupert Bear annual to reveal the wine list. It’s just one of the touches that bring character to this quirky spot. The sibling owners grew up in the area, and the fun they’ve had creating their own pub shows. Two Guinness factory pressure gauges flank the entrance, and there’s Greene King and Truman ale, and Addlestones cider on tap. A big screen for football and live band nights also attract punters. Food is carefully sourced, with chutneys, jams and ice creams made in house. Sit in the dining room or on the leafy terrace and tuck into grilled asparagus with poached egg and Parmesan, rump of lamb with mash and buttered sprouting broccoli, and lemon tart with crème fraîche.

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The Jam Tree

The Jam Tree

£30 - £49
Gastropub

541 Kings Road, London, SW6 2EB

Like its Clapham sibling, this Jam Tree has quickly taken root in its chosen neighbourhood. Technically it’s in Fulham, but the Made in Chelsea set is happy to slum it on the wrong side of the tracks for jam-flavoured cocktail jars such as Damson in a Dress or Jammy Dodger (served hot). Numerous takes on Bloody Mary and the bar’s ‘cowboy breakfast’ help habitual hangovers, while the sun-trap beer garden (complete with alfresco bar and hog-roast BBQs) is perfect for sipping Chardonnay in summer or bundling up warm, with a beer, some bowl food and mains on a colonial theme. Say ‘yah’ to Singapore laksa, shahi paneer, curried goat with rice and peas or vegetable rangdang, as well as old-school English pies and puds. Still, a 2am licence at weekends means this is primarily a serious boozing joint. 

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The Garden Gate

The Garden Gate

£30 - £49
Bars

14 South End Road, London, NW3 2QE

When the British summer isn’t British winter under an assumed name, check out the pretty beer garden at this Cask Marque-accredited Hampstead tavern that nowadays promises around 20 speciality beers and ciders from the likes of BrewDog, Sharps, Harveys, Brakspear, Camden Town and Brooklyn. Otherwise, summer quaffs such as Sipsmith’s fruit cup with ginger ale, elderflower fizz, British kir royale or homemade lemonade with Chase potato vodka have patriotic, Enid Blyton appeal and play to the half-timbered pub’s cottagey Arts & Crafts vibe. Simple seasonal cooking yields Gloucester Old Spot bangers on pea mash, wild salmon fishcakes with beetroot salad, risottos, fish and chips, sticky toffee pudding and salted caramel and chocolate tart with clotted cream, as well as Saturday brunch, Sunday roasts and bar nibbles (whitebait, Scotch eggs, sausage rolls, sarnies with fries).

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Colbert

Colbert

French

50-52 Sloane Square, SW1W 8AX

If ever there was a corner of London that embraced the quintessence of central Paris, it’s Sloane Square – which makes it a perfect home for Messrs Corbin and King’s homage to the Gallic brasserie. From the black-and-white floor to art-deco flourishes and cream walls emblazoned with film posters, this spot has been fastidiously designed to look as if it’s been around for a lifetime. There’s the odd concession to current tastes on the all-day menu (crushed avocado on sourdough toast, say), but this is really a place for lovers of dyed-in-the-wool bistro cooking, from garlicky escargots and steak tartare to veal viennoise, herb-crusted hake with béarnaise sauce and desserts such as rum baba. Waiters in suited aprons are expertly drilled in the art of dutiful hospitality, while the oak bar is perfect for soaking up a Cognac or two. “Great local restaurant, buzzing from breakfast to midnight, love it”, says one fan. We wouldn’t argue with that.

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Porky

Porky's Bankside

£30 - £49
North American

18 New Globe Walk, London, SE1 9DR

A sequel to the highly successful Camden, this Bankside offshoot provides more of the same smoky porcine pleasures and rocking Tennessee tunes. After a ‘warm-up’ of cheesy corn hush puppies or a mug of chilli, move on to the ‘main act’ – slow-cooked meaty ribs with the house sauce, 18-hour pulled pork, ‘good licks’ such as spicy fried catfish, and assorted ‘hound dogs’ (British pork sausage with fried onions in a bun, plus assorted toppings), all served in classic enamel dishes. The ‘sideshow’ comprises garlic toast, fried sweet potatoes and suchlike, while ‘encores’ come in the shape of baked vanilla cheesecake or brownie sundaes. To drink, expect picklebacks, craft beers, bourbons, a fistful of wines and various Americana cocktails such as Smokes and Rye (Peychaud bitters, liquid smoke, rye, egg white, lime juice and sugar syrup).

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Fernandez & Wells Somerset House

Fernandez & Wells Somerset House

Under £30
Cafes

Somerset House, The Strand, London, WC2R 1LA

The latest branch of the Soho-based Fernandez & Wells mini-chain finds it in the auspicious, tourist-hungry surrounds of Somerset House on The Strand. Occupying three sizeable rooms in the recently refurbished East Wing, it has been slickly fitted out with swathes of New York stone, wood and metal, wire baskets of citrus fruit and an entire wall arrayed with legs of top-grade Spanish jamón (a signature motif); also check out the specially commissioned contemporary murals and the views over the fountain courtyard. Tuscan cured meats, artisan cheeses, rustic sandwiches and cakes are the daytime staples, with brunch yielding additional treats such as fried organic eggs in olive oil with a sprinkle of za’atar on sourdough toast. F&W is known for its coffee, but the drinks list also extends to single-estate teas and some interesting European wines from organic producers.

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The Bolingbroke

The Bolingbroke

£30 - £49
Gastropub

174 Northcote Road, London, SW11 6RE

 

A smartish pub that seems comfortable in its own skin, The Bolingbroke is well-used by Wandsworth denizens who drop in for a glass of wine, homemade elderflower cordial or locally brewed beer (the small pubco that owns the place even has its own label – Three Cheers Summer Pale Ale). Many punters pop by on their way home from work, and then meet friends and stay for the evening, grazing on bar snacks such as hummus, guacamole and flatbread, or a plate of charcuterie. Others book a table in the romantic conservatory-like dining room at the back: ideal for dates and special occasions. Cooking here is pitched towards the top end of the gastropub spectrum – check the blackboards for specials of the day, but expect the likes of homemade terrines with cornichons, lovely fresh salads, and seared scallops with spiced lentils. Chocolate pot with white chocolate sabayon makes a sweet finale.

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Bellanger

Bellanger

£30 - £49
French

9 Islington Green, N1 2XH

The latest restaurant from Jeremy King and Chris Corbin, the uber-restaurateurs who count The Wolseley, The Delaunay and Brasserie Zédel among their ranks, takes its name from Monsieur Bellanger (seller of Delaunay-Belville automobiles) and, more importantly, makes a welcome addition to chain-heavy Upper Street. A trademark interior of polished wood, oil paintings, and gold finishes gives the spacious dining room a bright bistro feel, all designed by Shayne Brady of Brady Williams.

During our pre-opening lunch, we ate from a shortened version of a menu which celebrates the brasseurs (brewers) of Alsace. Expect a selection of French classics (similar to those which have made its siblings Brasserie Zédel and Colbert famous), alongside more Eastern European-leaning dishes: tangy salad râpées was brought up to date with the addition of celeriac and beetroot alongside the typical grated carrot, while beetroot-cured salmon with horseradish was perfect in its simplicity. Other options included a hearty pâté de campagne with fig jam, soupe à la bière (yes, that’s beer soup), or the 1980s favourite, a crayfish, prawn and avocado cocktail. For the main event, grilled chicken paillard was light and will no doubt prove popular among lunchtime diners, while cod à la Grenobloise (lemon, capers and parsley) was surprisingly rich, made more so by a side of creamy spinach. Sharing seems to be encouraged: coq au Reisling and baeckeoffe (beef, pork and lamb braised in Gewürztraminer wine) are offered for two or four people, while there’s a dedicated saucisse selection inviting diners to choose from varieties including Toulouse pork and wild boar with cranberry and venison.

For pudding, expect French classics such as tarte au pommes, Crêpe Suzette à la mode and vanilla crème brûlée. We’d been tipped off to order the tarte flambée, however, which arrives paper-thin on a wooden board, smeared with sticky apple and scattered chards of caramelised nut brittle. We’re told that when Bellanger is fully open, these will be available with savoury toppings such as goats’ cheese or bacon: basically the perfect accompaniment to a glass of wine at the bar. We have every confidence that classy Bellanger will gain a strong reputation in Islington.

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People’s Park Tavern

People’s Park Tavern

£30 - £49
Pubs

360 Victoria Park Road, London, E9 7BT

A south-facing terrace overlooking Victoria Park makes this nu-Victorian revamp of a landmark boozer a prime spot for kicking back alfresco in leafiest Hackney. South African house tipples head a list of a dozen unpretentious wines, while Hackney Brewery’s New Zealand pale ale and the pub’s own microbrews are among numerous hand-pulled pints on offer. Occasional glitches (no Worcestershire sauce for our bloody Mary, for example) aren’t exactly deal breakers when dishes such as fish pie, pork belly and black pudding with caramelised apple and garlic mash or posh honey-glazed ham with duck egg and truffled chips can be had for around a tenner. Open-mic nights, jam sessions, improvised comedy and alternative theatrical performances upstairs are further reasons to park up at this popular tavern.

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Porky

Porky's Camden

£30 - £49
North American

18 Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8AG

Inspired by their road trips across America, Joy and Simon Brigg decided to bring the ‘sweet tastes of southern soul food’ to Camden with this funky joint dedicated to smoky porcine pleasures and rocking Tennessee tunes. After a ‘warm-up’ of cheesy corn hush puppies or a mug of chilli, move on to the ‘main act’ – slow-cooked meaty ribs with the house sauce, 18-hour pulled pork, half a BBQ chicken or ‘good licks’ such as spicy fried catfish, all served in classic enamel dishes. The ‘sideshow’ comprises creamed spinach, fried sweet potatoes and suchlike, while ‘encores’ might feature baked vanilla cheesecake or apple cobbler. To drink, expect picklebacks, craft beers, bourbons, a fistful of wines and various Americana cocktails such as jam julep or spicy chihuahua (Sauza Plata Tequila, espresso, agave syrup and chilli). “Giant portions, fantastic value”, exclaimed one convert.

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Bull & Last

Bull & Last

£30 - £49
Gastropub

168 Highgate Road, London, NW5 1QS

CURRENTLY CLOSED FOR REFURBISHMENT. REOPENS AUTUMN 2019

With animal heads on its walls (nothing endangered, mind) and a bucolic finish, The Bull & Last has the feel of a country pub in the big city. The ground-floor bar can generate quite a buzz at busy times, so diners might prefer heading up the stairs to the (relative) poshness of the restaurant, where there’s more room to kick back and take in the menu.

Some appealing nourishment is on the cards, treading a line between hearty rusticity and metropolitan refinement. The charcuterie and fish boards offer sharing possibilities, or you could keep scallop ceviche all to yourself. Steak and chips or fish and chips crank up the comfort factor, with the likes of rump of English lamb with Jerusalem artichoke purée and lamb pastilla, and a dessert of black fig Tatin, revealing the culinary chops of the kitchen. London’s microbreweries get a good outing at the pumps.

 

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The Kensington Wine Rooms

The Kensington Wine Rooms

£30 - £49
Modern European

127-129 Kensington Church Street, London, W8 7LP

Debonair Kensington Wine Rooms has a fun, buzzy feel that’s no doubt fortified by the copious quantities of wine by the glass it dispenses – some four dozen are available via an Enomatic system. Pitch camp at the bar, charge up your special pre-paid card, then sip your way through a list that runs from everyday sips to serious ‘event’ vintages at intimidating prices. Wine matches appear alongside each dish on the evening menu in the adjoining dining area: Cornish crab, avocado and spiced crackers with a Gusbourne Estate Chardonnay from Kent; sea bass atop crab, pea and crème fraîche risotto with a 2014 Puligny Montrachet ‘Les Enseigneres’; onglet steak and hand-cut chips accompanied by a 2104 Stellenbosch (RSA). ‘Bar plates’ and lunch specials for a tenner offer the best value, brunch brightens up the weekend, and regular wine events are a big draw.

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Gaucho Hampstead

Gaucho Hampstead

£50 - £79
Steak
Argentinian
£30 - £49

64 Heath Street, London, NW3 1DN

Lucky north Londoners don’t have to travel far for prime Argentinian steak – Gaucho Hampstead is every bit as accomplished as its central London brethren. The chain’s reputation has been carved from its impeccable beef, offered in a range of weights and cuts: from juicy rib-eyes to the most tender of fillets. The meat is so good, it’s hard to fathom why anyone would want anything else, but the menu is an exhaustive read featuring ceviches and empanadas to start and spatchcocked chicken or slow-cooked lamb to follow. Look out for desserts featuring dulce de leche; they’re bound to be a treat. Also of note are the sultry cowhide interiors, cool and confident service, and the far-reaching wine list including a ‘fine and rare’ section to match the best of the meat.

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Spaniards Inn

Spaniards Inn

Under £30
Gastropub

Spaniards Road, London, NW3 7JJ

Dating from 1585, the famous old Spaniards Inn is a must for literary buffs: John Keats apparently penned Ode to a Nightingale in the garden and the boozer even gets a name-check in Dickens’ Pickwick Papers. Scrubbed up and rejuvenated a while back, it’s now a mix of gleaming oak-panelled walls, chandeliers, beams and log fires, with a revitalised menu served in the beamed bar and upstairs dining room: expect the likes of crumbed pig’s cheek with celeriac rémoulade, ahead of pan-fried sea bass with heritage potatoes, sautéed kale and thermidor sauce or shin of beef with tenderstem broccoli and bone-marrow sauce. Pub standards also have their say, and the extended drinks list covers all bases from British cask ales to global wines. Saturday brunch is a fillip for the heath-walking brigade, while the outdoor bar and BBQ are a must during ‘flip-flop weather’. 

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M Threadneedle Street

M Threadneedle Street

£50 - £79
Steak

2-3 Threadneedle Walk, 60 Threadneedle Street, London, EC2R 8HP

Bold in scale, ambition and outlook, Martin Williams’ multifaceted restaurant is a hotbed of unashamed consumption – from its full-throttle cellar to the meat room lit up like a boutique window: “the layout lets you see and be seen”, notes one reader (we advise using the online ‘table tour’ to pick your preferred spot). Beyond the buzz, there’s good food to be had, so prepare to be surprised by a selection of “rare dishes cooked to perfection”. The ‘raw’ menu might yield red prawns with black curry, coconut gel and coconut crumble or smoked Wagyu tartare with apples and foie gras, while grills are (for the most part) a steak-collector’s delight – at a price. Martin Williams used to run Gaucho, which explains why Argentinean rump and an international ‘kilo’ board are offered alongside Japanese kobe fillet at £1 per gram. “Personable, well-intended service” gets the nod, and cocktails come “highly recommended”. 

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The Gunmakers

The Gunmakers

Pubs

13 Eyre Street Hill, London, EC1R 5ET

Standing on a slightly scruffy Clerkenwell side street, the diminutive Gunmakers makes an agreeable if unassuming bolthole for a pint and some sturdy pub food. Apart from a mini-arsenal of antique firearms mounted on the walls, the interior is a conspicuously stark affair, although the bar is loaded with some less regularly encountered ales – Mad Goose Purity or Hobsons Mild, for instance. Head for the cheery conservatory out the back to sample some gimmick-free pub fare, perhaps beef and stout pie with celeriac mash or a veal chop with spring greens and portobello mushrooms, rounded off with a luscious banoffee pie. Be warned: the tiny space can get pretty packed at peak times, so you may end up drinking on the pavement.

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Anchor & Hope

Anchor & Hope

£30 - £49
Gastropub

36 The Cut, London, SE1 8LP

The ‘no reservations’ policy, dishevelled interiors and jam-packed tables aren’t enough to deter south London’s dining cognoscenti from patronising its best-known gastropub – although recent reports suggest the Anchor & Hope is getting ‘tired’ and ‘trading on its longevity’. Once you’ve negotiated the scrum at the bar and secured a coveted spot in t he no-frills dining room, you’ll be rewarded with a short (and rapidly depleted) blackboard menu of unreformed grub with a trencherman British accent – perhaps a ‘flavoursome’ warm salad of snails and bacon, Middle White pork faggot and mash, grilled lemon sole with samphire, or fried ox cheek. The enticing wine list has plenty below the £25 mark, although not everyone is happy drinking out of cheap tumblers. You can book for Sunday lunch, with a single sitting at 2pm sharp (very civilised).

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The Bull - North Hill

The Bull - North Hill

Pubs

13 North Hill, London, N6 4AB

North London’s real ale fans should celebrate the reopening of this tastefully refurbished olde-worlde Highgate landmark. With Dan Fox (formerly of the White Horse, Parsons Green) in charge, it now comes complete with its own microbrewery. Over a dozen draughts might typically include Jaipur IPA or Tottenham’s Redemption Trinity, and there are plenty of arcane brews to investigate – check out the Halloween pumpkin beer. If bottled brews are your bag, look for the likes of Torpedo or Vital Spark from Scotland’s Fyne Ales. Food might range from beer-battered cod to pulled pork and carbonnade of beef.

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Charles Lamb

Charles Lamb

Pubs

16 Elia Street, London, N1 8DE

Sitting on a quiet Islington backstreet, its weathered Victorian tiles sporting lovingly tended hanging baskets, this cosy corner pub is a congenial spot for lucky locals. Easy-going staff make everyone (newcomers as well as the regulars) welcome. The landlady cut her teeth here before launching the award-winning 69 Colebrooke Row, & her care & attention to detail is evident in everything: from the laudable list of Old World wines to the posh peasant food on the blackboard menu. English & French influences produce satisfying ‘simple but not plain, thoughtful but not over-elaborate’ dishes: the likes of potted crab with aïoli & toast; steak, mushroom & Guinness pie with green beans & mash; & rhubarb syllabub. Beers are well-kept & discerningly selected at this free house, with Dark Star’s Hophead & Meantime on tap, as well as bottles of Liberty Ale, Sierra Nevada & Anchor Steam.

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The Trafalgar Tavern

The Trafalgar Tavern

£30 - £49
Gastropub

Park Row, London, SE10 9NW

It’s hard to beat the riverside location of this historic Greenwich boozer (dating from 1837). At high tide, take a seat in a bay window projecting over the Thames – ideally with a pint from the choice of guest ales – & you’ll feel like you’re practically in the water. The atmospheric bar, with its dark-green walls & oil paintings of naval battles, seems to have changed little since Charles Dickens & William Gladstone drank here. By contrast, the large Collingwood Restaurant (fish is a forte) feels rather corporate, packing in tourists & displaying special offers on wine. All this history comes at a price; whitebait with paprika mayonnaise, the house special, costs £7 & you’ll pay upwards of £15 for mains, including baked haddock & Welsh rarebit, or spiced leg of lamb.

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The Lord Palmerston

The Lord Palmerston

£30 - £49
Gastropub

33 Dartmouth Park Hill, NW5 1HU

Upmarket pub chain Geronimo Inns have applied their instantly familiar, signature look to this corner boozer deep in Ed Miliband-land. What Champagne socialists can expect along with their bubbles is a plush, comfortable take on nu-Victorian that would thrill the Interiors editor of a mid-market woman’s weekly. Choose from a decent range of draught ales and a wine list that has plenty of interest either side of £20 – Slovenian Pinot Blanc and Australian Barossa Valley rosé, for example. Lunch and dinner service favours a mix of hearty Anglo-Med ideas: roasted tomato mozzarella and thyme tart; sea bream and squid stew with polenta; wood pigeon with bacon, pearl barley and red wine jus, plus burgers, deep-fill sandwiches, puds and cheeses. A roaring open fire and a smart garden (with barbecue) are to be commended.

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The Wells

The Wells

£30 - £49
Gastropub

30 Well Walk, London, NW3 1BX

“Great pub, lovely food and friendly staff”, notes a fan of this gentrified Georgian pub – a fetching asset in the green and pleasant Hampstead hinterland. The ground-floor bar is well stocked with real ales, board games and comfy sofas, while the smart upstairs restaurant cuts a dash with its white linen tablecloths and a menu of aspirational assemblages. A plate of confit duck with celeriac purée, greens and devilled sauce is pure gastropub; alternatively, keep it traditional with smoked haddock kedgeree and a soft-boiled egg or Cumberland sausages and mash. The char-grill knocks out dry-aged steaks and posh burgers, while daily specials might bring venison fillet with butternut squash purée, parsnip gratin and blackberry jus. To finish, play it safe with strawberry pavlova or dark chocolate pot. In keeping with its gastronomic ambitions, The Wells’ wine list runs deep, with plenty of desirable options by the glass or carafe.

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The Jolly Butchers

The Jolly Butchers

£30 - £49
Pubs

202-204 Stoke Newington High Street, London, N16 7HU

‘Free house’ proclaims a sign behind the well-stocked bar of this remodelled pub on a newly energised stretch of the High Street. To eat, there’s ‘unmolested proper pub food’ (fish & chips, grilled rib-eye, Cumberland sausage), as well as beer and cheese pairing suggestions (farmhouse French Brie and De Koninck Belgian beer, perhaps) and excellent Sunday roasts. But The Jolly Butchers is really all about the stuff on tap, and there’s a seriously good selection, changed frequently and Tweeted to fans. A cask has been known to sell out in a matter of hours thanks to the thirsty flocking in. Will yours be an American pale ale or a weissbier from Germany? Or maybe you’ll stick near to home with the impressive selection from London brewers, such as the Camden Town Brewery, Meantime in Greenwich and Tottenham’s Redemption Brewery.

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The Prince Bonaparte

The Prince Bonaparte

£30 - £49
Gastropub

80 Chepstow Road, London, W2 5BE

Situated away from the hurly-burly of Portobello Road and Westbourne Grove, the ever-popular Bonaparte continues to draw an attractive crowd of thirtysomethings with money to spend on real ales, thoughtfully selected wines and above-average food. Oysters, Spanish charcuterie plates, rib-eye steaks and artisan British cheeses are year-round favourites on a menu that ticks all the boxes for seasonality and provenance, from warm beetroot, walnut, Jersey Royal and rocket salad to slow-roast pork belly with pesto mash, spring greens and cider velouté or char-grilled whole sea bass with sweet potato, chilli and avocado salsa. Desserts might feature summer pudding with clotted cream, and set lunches are terrific value at £9.50/11.50 for two/three courses. The upmarket bar’s floral lampshades and exposed brick contrast with serious wood panelling in the dining area.

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The Prince Stoke Newington

The Prince Stoke Newington

£30 - £49
Gastropub

59 Kynaston Road, London, N16 0EB

Following a change of ownership and some sympathetic surgery, this backstreet boozer and beer garden has been restored to its green-tiled, stripped-back, Victorian prime – and it’s now an indie free house well worth seeking out. Vintage speakers blare out a muso-cool playlist, while punters sip affordable wines, spritzes, fizzes and a trio of seasonal cocktails made with locally distilled spirits, homemade syrups and cordials. There’s also a useful range of traditional London-style craft ales from the likes of Beavertown and Hackney hopmeisters Pressure Drop. The sensibly short daily menu of heritage-inspired pub grub might promise home-cured charcuterie or raw mackerel with sea purslane and potatoes, ahead of charred spring vegetables with sheep’s cheese and herbs, Stilton burger or onglet and chips, with fresh strawberries or baked vanilla cheesecake for dessert.

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Sodo Clapton

Sodo Clapton

£30 - £49
Pizza

126 Upper Clapton Road, London, E5 9JY

Hot on the heels of the sourdough revolution, this tiny-but-mighty pizza joint is a lively addition to invigorated Upper Clapton Road. The two young owners discovered the magic of wild yeast at the nearby E5 Bakehouse, and have spun it to create a short menu of four crispy thin-crust pizzas plus a weekly special. Sit at one of the chunky tables and tuck into a ‘winter goat’ (tomato, mozzarella, goats’ cheese, walnuts, caramelised onions and olives) with a green salad from the urban gardeners at Growing Communities. There’s tiramisu to finish, and the drinks list includes beers from East London brewers, homemade ginger ale and a few bottles from Borough Wines. Prices are as friendly as the vibe, and Clapton station is just an olive’s throw away if you fancy a trip out east.

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Maggie Jones

Maggie Jones's

£30 - £49
British
£50 - £79

6 Old Court Place, London, W8 4PL

With its hotchpotch of trinkets, high-backed antique pews, wicker baskets, dried flowers and dripping candles in wine bottles, redoubtable Maggie Jones’s looks like a set from a Richard Curtis film – although the food “feels like it predates Four Weddings and a Funeral”. Appropriately, the kitchen plays it straight, and the cooking is old-school British to the core – think asparagus with vinaigrette, steak and kidney pie or stuffed roast chicken with bread sauce. Fish fans might go for grilled salmon with hollandaise and there’s game in season too, while old-fashioned desserts could feature Cambridge burnt cream, apple crumble or bread-and-butter pudding. French house wine is served from a magnum, and diners are merely charged for what they drink – a cute touch. Added to that, Maggie’s “friendly prices”, set deals and easy-going charms ensure regular full houses.

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Andrew Edmunds

Andrew Edmunds

£30 - £49
Modern European
£30 - £49

46 Lexington Street, London, W1F 0LP

With a low-key, all-black frontage setting the tone, this Soho evergreen isn’t about to flaunt its near-legendary “romantic” charms. Space is at a premium here, but once you find a candlelit table, settle in for starters of plump confit pork cheeks with almond, peach and fennel or perhaps a delicate lobster bisque. The eclectic handwritten menu changes daily and “good value” mains keep things simple via a chunky Old Spot pork chop or fillet of stone bass with pine nuts, while puds might bring textbook pavlova or fresh figs drizzled with labneh, honey and walnuts. Personable, expert staff help to ease the digestion, while expertise and reliability characterise the superb selection of Old World wines – in fact the whole outfit is a friendly celebration of old-school restaurant values. The dimly lit, split-level premises may eschew anything remotely grandiose with its shabby, dated furnishings, but Andrew Edmunds delivers comfort and character in spades.

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View94

View94

£30 - £49
International

Prospect Quay, 94 Point Pleasant, London, SW18 1PP

View94 is a new and exciting fine dining restaurant & lounge bar based just a few yards away from the River Thames, in the cosy neighborhood of SW18.

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Shake Shack Covent Garden

Shake Shack Covent Garden

Under £30
North American

24 Market Building, The Piazza, London, WC2E 8RD

Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack has been wowing them stateside since 2004, and now the New York restaurateur has brought his modern-day ‘roadside burger stand’ to London. Set in Covent Garden’s tourist honeypot, the new venture features eco-friendly dining areas within the South Hall of the Market Building – an enticing draw for locals and American expats who are lured by a self-service menu of all-natural burgers, flat-top hot dogs and that US classic ‘frozen custard’. Native sourcing and ingredients from London’s artisan suppliers play their part in recreating the transatlantic repertoire – think layered burgers with soft buns and lashings of sauce, plus a host of other crowd-pleasing favourites partnered by crinkle-cut Yukon fries slathered in nacho-style cheese sauce. As for drinks, expect shakes, iced teas, fountain sodas, root beers and wines, served by staff who dole out Yankee hospitality with a big fat smile.

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The Spencer

The Spencer

£30 - £49
Gastropub

237 Lower Richmond Road, London, SW15 1HJ

Unless you live nearby, it’s a ‘bit of a mission’ to get to The Spencer Arms, on the edge of Putney Heath. But locals count themselves lucky. Drinks as well as the food are good here; the wine list has plenty to offer the curious, though most punters stick to the ‘very decent’ house wines or one of the beers on tap. The reasonably priced menu of ‘gutsy’, ‘tasty’ food changes regularly, but quality and lack of pretension are watchwords. Select several tapas-sized dishes to share – devilled whitebait, grilled asparagus, and Cornish yarg with pickled onion all might feature – or eat more formally by ordering pies, sausages, risottos or Sunday roasts. The normally efficient and friendly service can slow down under pressure on summer evenings and at weekends, so arrive early.

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