Located on the edge of Wimbledon Common, The Fox and Grapes is now run by TV chef Paul Merrett, after its gastropub credentials were established by Michelin-starred Claude Bosi. A 2018 refurb added splashes of colour, but the characterful original features of the building, which dates back to 1787, stay the same. The buzzy atmosphere is also still intact, complete with canine companions, who are welcome to join their owners here. Merrett, a regular on Saturday Kitchen and Sunday Feast, sticks to a crowd-pleasing formula that mixes British pub classics such as burgers or beer-battered fish & chips, with more ambitious dishes and some international flavours.
We kicked off with moist Thai crab cakes and crisp chicken Caesar croquettes served with baby gem, parmesan and soft boiled egg for a twist on chicken Caesar salad. Mains include cod fillet with anchovy butter and beef sirloin, but our stand-out dish was juicy pork ribeye steak (not a common cut), perfectly cooked and served with braised cabbage and a piquant cider and mustard sauce. Native sourcing, including foraged herbs and seasonal veg from local allotments, is a real plus. Behind the bar, expect a choice of craft beers and real ales, alongside a dependable wine list from Berry Bros & Rudd. Three rooms are also available for overnight stays.