The last thing West London, famed for its gastropubs, needs is the addition of yet another such temple—but locals have gone crazy for this newcomer, booking up tables weeks in advance. The converted gin palace’s history dates back to the early 19th century. Once a fashionable meeting place for bright young things, it fell into disrepair; by the end of the 20th century it was known as one of the area’s dodgiest boozers.
New owners James McLean and Matt Wilkin (who also happens to be a world-class sommelier) have worked wonders: the chic interior plays on its Victorian heritage (high ceilings, portraits, stuffed animals) but adds a contemporary twist with the slate grey walls and clean lines. The wine list is extremely impressive (with a good range of French classics and food-friendly wines from lesser known regions like Portugal) but the food is undoubtedly the main event. Best of the starters is the zingy herring roes on toast, while mains range from the expertly executed steak and chips to the sublime smoked eel and macaroni or pan-fried sea trout linguine. Forget Gordon Ramsay’s overpriced gastroboozers and head here instead.