It's a bold move to try and replicate a traditional country pub in the city, particularly in an area of London where most of the locals drive four-by-fours and make regular escapes to countryside pads at the weekends.
Yet with The Hunter's Moon, co-owners Hubert Beatson-Hird and Oliver Marlowe have managed to balance the feel of an old-fashioned country boozer with a refined Chelsea restaurant, and already the gastropub feels like a longstanding local despite having just opened its doors.
Indeed, on a brisk Thursday evening the casual front area of the venue was buzzing with smartly attired chaps tucking greedily into Scotch eggs and sausage rolls whilst enjoying a post-work pint. The beautiful oak floors and mismatched furniture add to an ambience that's laid-back and informal while still retaining a touch of plush elegance that's in keeping with the area.
The pastoral theme continues in the dining area with a beautiful open fireplace, Aga and blackboard scrawled with daily specials; and yet the pendulum lighting, tiled floor and leather banquette seating all lend the spacious room a distinctive Chelsea townhouse vibe.
The food follows a similar pattern – hearty classics reimagined with careful presentation and contemporary twists. Venison tartare was perfectly seasoned and topped with a pickled walnut ketchup and parsnip crisps, while the scallop ceviche garnished with dollops of whipped avocado mousse, pickled ginger and a finger-licking ponzu dressing achieved the tricky feat of matching stunning presentation with equally stunning flavours.
Our main courses were less remarkable but enjoyable nonetheless. Roast guinea fowl was a little bland but made up for by a succulent pastilla of leg meat and moreish truffle sauce. Tender braised featherblade of beef had good flavour but was a little on the dry side, as were the chunky parmesan and truffle chips that accompanied it.
Any issues with the mains, however, were compensated for by a dessert list that promises retro delights and unequivocally delivers. Rhubarb pavolva was a pillowy cloud atop a silky smooth crème patissière sprinkled generously with a biscuity ginger crumb. Hot chocolate mousse was more decadent still, served with shards of nougatine and topped with a refreshing milk ice cream. An affordable and extensive wine list is another big draw, as is the warm and attentive service.
This isn't a rustic come-in-your-wellies kind of pub by any stretch of the imagination but it certainly emanates a distinctive countryside charm – the kind of place where dogs are heartily welcomed, just so long as their owners are well groomed.