It’s amazing how hard it can be to find decent pub grub in this era of the gastropub and gourmet junk food. I often find myself holding my breath on the way to eat at one, it’s even worse when I’ve been invited to review (as I have been here), as more often than not the food on offer is far from ideal for human consumption, consisting mainly of varying shades of inedible. I should really learn that the rule of thumb is generally not to go there (I’m clearly not talking about brilliant food pop-ups in boozers such as the likes of Lucky Chip at The Sebright Arms or Patty and Bun/The Pizza Pilgrims/Blanch and Shock at The Endurance) with most leaving me sorely disappointed and resentfully out of pocket, the anticipation of which is probably not worth it for my health.
Luckily in this instance I’m headed to The Thatched whose new landlord is republican extraordinaire, all round well loved and respected Oisin Rogers, oh, he’s also lord of the fridge buffet, whose other pub is the very popular Ship in Wandsworth. I’ve had some great times at The Ship and with his exemplary reputation I’m feeling pretty confident. I missed the opening party and so popped along with the boy a few weekends ago, travelling to Hammersmith amid the Olympic ‘chaos’ that had rendered the capital suddenly serene.
Arriving relatively early we are greeted with a quiet neighbourhood pub set amongst leafy suburban and rather affluent surroundings, the atmosphere is relaxed and family friendly, certainly one small person felt comfortable enough to venture across the floor towards us on hands and knees. The Thatched doesn’t have quite the sprawling layout of The Ship but is still spacious enough; an immense leather sofa and long bench take up most of one deep red wall with a giant TV screen above, a communal heavy table and bare wooden flooorboards fill the rest of the traditional pub area. We take a seat at a low key two seater table opposite the bar (LOVE the metal jelly mould lamp shades) in a sort of corridor leading out into a comfortable conservatory area at the back that opens up onto a patio.
We’re brought a drinks menu with an alarming selection of gin and tonics, I mean a choice of gins is normal, but the thatched also have their own range of tonics made in house and so the choices available become almost endless. A Hendricks with cucumber and mint tonic is a close contender but in the end I’m drawn to the chai tea and hibiscus with Sipsmith, I don’t normally favour long drinks but this is rather lovely, sweet and spicy and very girly. The boy enjoys a pale ale as we cast eyes over the food menu.
The boy, being a boy, decides he wants ALL the starters so we go for the platter which covers just about everything including the infamous scotch egg, which keeps me happy. That egg is goooood, succulent sausage meat coddles perfectly cooked egg, vivid yellow yolk, and I’d happily eat the whole thing, but we have a platter to contend with so I plough on. I take a quarter of the salt beef sandwich, nicely loaded up with meat and a quarter of pork pie, not normally my sort of thing this is surprisingly delicious, moist and with none of that vile jelly, it has an unusual and lovely flaky pastry crust. I’m afraid I try but can’t eat the sloe gin cured salmon, a few steps too fishy for my palet, I’m always slightly suspicious of salad garnish and triangles of naked toast, does anyone eat those things? The boy finishes the rest, I’m feeling pleased I’ve left plenty of room for my main, he already looks to be struggling…
The boy is a sucker for hollandaise and a poached egg so chooses the salmon and cod fishcake which sits beneath one and is smothered by the other, it doesn’t last long. My main reason for holding back from destroying the platter is that I’ve ordered the burger; I’ve heard many great stories and seen many a picture of this fabled beast, admittedly from it’s roots at The Ship, but still I have high hopes. Oooh, and it does look a beasty, it also looks squishier in real life, pics on Twitter and Instagram I’ve oft droooled over from friends and acquaintances paint it to be a sturdier creation, but this deflates rather cleverly, allowing me to feed it into my face with ease. I’m talking about the lovely brioche bun here of course, the patty itself is an impressively meaty affair, fantastic beef flavour, juicy and well seasoned, and cooked that important medium rare. It’s really well nestled into that bun with accompaniaments too, I like that the lettuce is shredded and there’s lots of mustard and ketchup, even better is the homemade plastic cheese that encompasses the whole thing in a yellow jacket. It’s a fantastic example of a burger and I’m feeling sheepish I’ve left it quite so long to try. I’m less enthused about the chips, it could be that I’m rapidly filling up but they’re a little cardboardy. Still, they can’t be that bad as it doesn’t stop me finishing them…
So come dessert we really are almost ready to burst. The boy is SO FULL he orders the cheeseboard. Yup, ’cause an entire cheese board is going to be lighter than a bit of cake?? He struggles (it looks good). I can’t resist the idea of a cherry jam filled roly poly, I’m aware it’s likely to be stodgy and I may not be able to finish it but I’m willing to have a go. It arives looking surprisingly small, a little splodge of sponge amid an ocean of jam and custard, this is actually fine by me at this point I’m on the verge of never eating again, but I’ve seen a picture of a friends since and I think maybe I got a rogue end bit. Whatever. It tastes divine, nostalgic, fruity, and synthetic in a good way. I could have eaten a lot more.
The thatched is a perfect example of a pub, not trying too hard to be anything other than great; both locations are more out of the way than I’d like, but both thoroughly worth the journey.