True Gastronomy In A Traditional Pub

Jane Martin enjoys an imaginative dinner at the Queen's Head

The Queen's Head kitchen is open from 12–3 and 5–10 Monday to Thursday, Friday and Saturday 12-10 and Sunday 12–8. The bar is open Monday to Satuday 12-11 and Sundays from 12-10.

12 Sutton Lane North,
Chiswick, London, W4 4LD
020 3819 6066.

The term ‘gastro pub' has come to mean – locally at least – a traditional pub where you're equally welcome for a couple of drinks as you are for a three course meal. The food is reliable, averagely priced and fairly traditional. Children and dogs are usually equally welcome, dogs often better behaved than the children! But because many of our local pubs offer a fairly formulaic menu, with ingredients and recipes dictated by the brewery's central kitchen, there's not much room for innovation.

But The Queen's Head, in Sutton Lane South, which has arisen from the ashes of The Smokehouse, is putting a significant twist on that state of affairs. Under the skilled hands of the Sardinian head chef we enjoyed one inventive plate after another, and pronounced each one utterly delicious. Worthy of note, alongside the finely crafted food, are the different gins available. The pub is making its own infusions, and I enjoyed a beautifully presented chilli infused gin, served with cucumber, rosemary and thinly sliced chillis. I can honestly say it was the best gin and tonic I have ever enjoyed.

Manager Max, also originally from Sardinia, described the Queen's Head ethic. It retains a traditional pub atmosphere with no segregated drinking and dining areas. You are as welcome to pop in for a couple of pints of one of their craft beers as you are for a sensational celebration meal or anything in between. Both lunch and dinner menus feature imaginative cuisine using only the finest fresh ingredients and absolutely nothing pre-prepared or frozen. In fact they have only a tiny freezer to accommodate their home-made gelato. There is something different on the menu every day – we enjoyed a sensational ox cheek croquette which was smoked and spiced and utterly delicious. Another stand-out starter was Gravadlax which had been matured for six days and served with a horseradish cream, beetroot, sweetly pickled cucumber and a squid ink tuille.

On the Thursday we visited, a stunning main course of rose veal was on the menu, beautifully cooked and served on a bed of spinach. It truly melted in the mouth. Equally, a tender rack of lamb on delicious mash was available. The desserts are also different and delectable.

Wednesday is steak night when you can choose two steaks for the price of one – Max told us that two fillet steaks, with two side dishes, would cost £31. If you want to eat meat free and more modestly, the home-made pasta dishes range from £9 - £14.

There's something for everyone on the menu, including the family favourite burger and chips, and a couple of vegetarian options. The Queen's Head kitchen is open from 12 – 3 and 5 – 10 Monday to Thursday, Friday and Saturday 12 -10 and Sunday 12 – 8. Tel: 44 20 3819 6066. The bar is open Monday to Satuday 12 to 11 and Sundays from 12 to 10.

Jane Martin

April 28, 2018

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