|New Year, New Gastro for Grove Park|
We check out the changes at the Old Stationhouse
New year, new beginnings would certainly seem the case in Grove Park as the former Grove Park Tavern begins to settle into life as the Old Stationhouse.
Although one could be forgiven for not realising any changes have occurred from the pub’s exterior where the only signs of modification are a few old chairs and a dilapidated upright piano that have been banished into the cold.
The interior is very much a tale of two halves. To the left as you enter not much if anything has changed.
However, over to the right signs of the pub’s gastro transformation are much more apparent. It would seem that the designers have cleaned out DFS of brown leather sofas and interspersed them with aluminum topped wooden tables.
It creates a welcoming if somewhat uniform look and goes well with the wooden panelled walls. However, local sports fans will have to find somewhere else to watch their matches as the relentless gentrification of Chiswick claims yet another ‘big screen’ venue.
We visited late on a Friday afternoon to have a meal before we embarked on an evening’s Christmas partying (canapés just don’t do enough for an Irish man's hearty appetite!).
We were greeted by the friendly new manager Bardi Berisha, previously of The Cow in Notting Hill, the original ‘gastropub’ in Tom Conran's restaurant group, who was very keen to tell us all about his plans for the Old Stationhouse. More changes are scheduled for January when the pub will be quieter and will include alterations to the exterior.
We hadn’t eaten at the pub’s former incarnation but I had had the worst glass of wine I had ever tasted in Chiswick. Not so this time around. I asked a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and was offered a taste before deciding if it was what I wanted. It was and cost £3.20. My husband, who was playing a game of football before the festivities began (and therefore thought a pint might hinder his performance on the pitch), had a cranberry juice.
The menu, which is available from 12.00pm until 10.30pm has a real gastro pub feel to it, includes meze platter to share (£9.50), pint of Dorset prawns with aioli and lemon (£6.95), Hereford beef and London Pride pie with cheddar mash (£9.95) and Old Stationhouse fish stew (£9.95).
We chose grilled fillet of sea-bass with sautéed new potatoes and artichokes (£11.95) and a free range stationhouse burger with cheddar cheese, chips and mixed leaf salad (£7.95).
The sea-bass was firm fresh and well cooked, especially the golden crisp skin; however the dish was somewhat spoilt by the oily artichokes and red peppers which had clearly come from a jar and had an odd vinegary taste to them. No such imperfections with the substantial stationhouse burger or the chips, although the salad was again oily and over dressed.
The bill came to a reasonable £25.60.
Jordan Swinscoe's House Bars, who now own The Old Stationhouse, has had a great deal of experience transforming venues across west London. The group operate a growing portfolio of bar / restaurants including Priory House, an award-winning Mediterranean tapas restaurant in Kensington; Station House, a funky garden bar and restaurant in Notting Hill; and Westbourne House cocktail lounge in Westbourne Grove, London W2.
Jordan Swinscoe was apparently impressed with the location of the Grove Park Hotel and was quick to recognise the potential of the business. However, the pub's makeover - albeit still work in progress - has been greeted with differing opinions from Grove Park locals.
One resident said "Bring back the traditional pubs before they all disappear or worse become theme pubs." Whilst others were more welcoming "I popped in to have a look at the Old Stationhouse (as it will be known) last night and it looks great! The team who have set it up used to run the Cow in Notting Hill and it looks like they have got the right idea - it is simple comfortable and stylish with a short menu of "gastropub" classics - stews, salads, burgers etc. They are intending it to open all day so they can serve coffee etc to the station goers."
PS. Check with The Old Stationhouse before going along as it may need to close for further refurbishments
January 9, 2008