Kew may have world famous gardens, but its restaurant scene is of purely local renown. There are some honourable exceptions (The Glasshouse next to the station, for example). But still the area lacks a good, easy-going hang out for weekend lounging after a trip to the nearby displays of horticulture.
This refurb of a monolithic boozer remedies this situation; somewhat. It’s not a total win for New Britian, though. As we entered, we were hit by the vague fug of unreconstructed boozer (what is it? nicotine? spilt beer?). It subsided as we progressed past the bar to the rear dining area where the feel of cosy Victorian tavern fights with that of 21st century gastropub. The sense that there’s been a stylish makeover wins out’ just.
A charming Eastern European waiter handled our drinks, which include a good range of real ales, somewhat re-enforcing the sense of split personality between a CAMRA favourite and somewhere more modern. I settled for Deuchers IPA, and very good it was too.
Aforementioned waiter took our food order, then disappeared off the face of the earth. Memo to owners: during Sunday Lunch with kids, panic ensues when no food arrives after half an hour. Somewhat dry bread further kindled the fear of an impending second-rate experience.
And then the food finally arrived and happily scotched such gloomy thoughts. There was one duff dish (very watery pasta for my daughter), but my son’s burger was clearly home-made, a risotto was prepared with real deftness, and red mullet in a soupy broth was done to a turn. We would have ordered puddings’ if we weren’t bored of the waits.
With a few tweaks, this place could be the perfect easy-going venue Kew needs. As it is, it’s an improvement on what there was before.