Some time ago the blog started a new way to review restaurants called ‘Cheaper Eats’. The main objective was to demonstrate that it was possible to eat in Michelin star rated restaurants for around about £30 ish. But this then left a void, it only left us to review restaurants that had be recognised. So now the blog has introduced a new category called ‘One to watch’, these will be places that are recommended to the blog or places that we come across.
As many of you will know, we are fans of the social networking site Twitter, where the blog has made friends and acquaintances with various restaurateurs & chefs. The unfortunate thing about this state of affairs with chefs & twitter, is that there is a tiny percentage who seem to think that they are the next big thing or are disgruntled that they aren’t getting, what they perceive to be their share of the limelight. So when we came across Dom Robinson from the Prince of Wales pub in Putney he was quite a breath of fresh air. From the word go the blog will hold it’s hands up, some of us have been to the Prince of Wales before. It was some time ago and it was on the back of the recommendation of a local. That time it was just for drinks, and it was a rammed quiz night. Move the clock forward some considerable time and we were going to be in the area again. As we’d recently been exchanging messages & tweets with Mr Robinson, we told him that we’d be popping by for lunch. Now, as this is a bit of a grey area concerning reviewing restaurants. We NEVER ask for freebies (whether extra courses or meals) & we always try our best to be fair to the eateries we visit. However from time to time extras may appear, we take the view that the chef or owner is out to demonstrate their techniques or new dishes which would have been missed with the dishes chosen by us (or any reviewer come to think of it). They don’t in our case sway what we think of an establishment just because we may receive such extras.
One of our last exchanges with Mr Robinson prior to our visit was about the plans for the future. He was sadly losing a Sous chef (Benitorrence) who was off to Australia and that weekend was his leaving party. But with every cloud there is a silver lining. The Prince of Wales had recruited a new Head chef in the form of a young charming bearded chap called Mick Goeman from Brett Graham’s starred pub ‘The Harwood Arms’. Now this is the reason the blog mentions the ‘extras’. Visiting somewhere with the objective of doing a review on a Sunday lunch is going to limit how much flair & skill a chef can display. Yes, it is possible to get it horribly wrong, but really? How hard is it?
After arriving ‘sarf” of the river on a sunny but chilly Sunday lunchtime, we gathered in the bar for a quick beverage & then moved through to the main dining area. Seated at a corner table were we had a slight view of the hotplate & the boys hard at work. A quick glance around the room was telling, although there was the occasional more mature couple, but the majority were the 20 & 30 somethings having a Sunday catch up with friends and so on. The front of house staff are efficient but friendly in a relaxed manner, a difficult trick to pull off but one would imagine is made easier with the confidence of a quality product to sell.
First up was a selection of breads, a brown soda and a quality white served with a proper English style bright yellow butter again oozing quality. Shortly after this, an extra course arrived. A Venison dish comprising of carpaccio and little crisp panko coated fritters of braised haunch, parmentiere potatoes, the ubiquitous micro herbs and a slight smattering of a sweet balsamic vinegar. If this had been ordered as a starter you wouldn’t be disappointed, with so many components to balance it could have gone horribly wrong. But it was a triumph, hot & cold, sweet & rich, soft & crispy, the pre starter had it all and just showed that if you treat excellent ingredients with respect they will reward you.
As it was a Sunday, one of us ordered a traditional Sunday roast of Pork shoulder with broccoli, roast potatoes & caramelised apples. While the other went a bit ‘off piste’, & ordered what we’d suspect is a dish made for sharing.A Selection of Spanish delicacies, consisting of Iberico ham, Salchichon, Smoked beef, red wine poached pear, Manchego, Lavender honey, extra virgin olive oil & toasted croutes. Yet again it proves that the sourcing of ingredients is paramount to a successful food operation, all the Spanish delicacies weren’t just some of the best around but served at room temperature to let the meats fully express themselves. The roast Pork was excellent, flavoursome and, all be it from a tiny piece of fatty grizzle (but then it was shoulder), a truly worthy Sunday roast joint. The accompanying roast potatoes, broccoli & caramelised apples where all there for a reason and were prime examples of what they could be.
After the mains were cleared, the Head chef Mick appeared tableside to introduce himself. We chatted briefly and clearly his enthusiasm is evident yet balanced with an antipodean relaxed mood, he offered us a parkin pre-dessert which we had to unfortunately decline for dietary reasons. To round off the meal, we settled for a hot chocolate fondant with salted almonds & burnt honey ice cream. A definite welcome departure from the usual milk or pistachio ice cream, again this was a dish balanced in flavours & textures, not too rich yet luxurious.
With a final bill coming in at around £50 for two including 4 bottled beers, a bottle of water & gratuity it’s a great way to have a nice lazy Sunday lunch. The signs are promising for the Prince of Wales team, the young front of house staff are knowledgeable, enthusiastic & proud of their pub. Whilst the kitchen delivers well sourced produce treated with respect in an unfussy style. Without a doubt in our minds the Prince of Wales will achieve great things over the coming years and comes highly recommended.
@ChefHermes I’m sure @turbopow would be happy to hear that. Did you ingest signature bloody Mary there?
Prince of Wales,
138 Upper Richmond Road,
Tel: 0208 788 1552