One such venue is the Hampshire Hog which has recently opened on King Street, Hammersmith, in the spot the Ruby Grand used to occupy. Along with its onsite shop, the pub offers two brunch options until 4pm and dinner from 6.30pm.
The dedicated pub area merges seamlessly into the ever so slightly more formal restaurant space which looks out onto the spacious beer garden. The room is inviting, simply decorated in white with a few intricate features dotted around.
It is run by the owners of the now defunct Engineer in Primrose Hill and on the Friday night I was there, it was populated in part by a loyal following from north London. Busy and brimming with energy, the bubbly staff also emitted the excited buzz of a new venture.
Opting for some bar snacks to start, the salmon ‘sashimi’ was a satisfying choice, succulent and oozing oriental flavours. The chunky zucchini fritti were recommended as ‘really light’, and they didn’t disappoint, although I think I was kidding myself to think a deep fried vegetable fell into the healthy category.
Ranging from £12 to £22 with sides extra, mains are a little pricey. But you do get restaurant quality, just in a more relaxed environment. In this way, the Hampshire Hog blurs the distinction between pub and restaurant.
I tried the whole grilled bream, beautifully cooked, although the accompanying lentils were a little salty for my taste. Always faithful to meat, my companion had the chargrilled ribeye, commenting favourably on its divine texture.
There were some unusual twists on the menu, such as cornflake ice cream, an intriguing and refreshing change from vanilla. Another highlight was the generous autumn fruit crumble, perfect for this time of year.
Next to the pub is The Pantry. Open every day until 5pm, it serves a range of teas, ‘super juices’, snacks and ready meals. Healthy options are available but I was so distracted by the massive chunks of fudge, I didn’t really notice. A subsequent look at the menu revealed such delights as autumn squash, sage and halloumi turkish wrap (£5) and tuna carpaccio, chilli, capers and amalfi lemon (£8).
One word of warning; on certain evenings, the alcohol induced volume of speech is turned up to maximum so get ready to join in or re-plan your romantic evenings. Friday night was undoubtedly loud but we were told that other times, for example Sunday brunch, have a much more chilled vibe.
The Hampshire Hog
227 King Street
Tel: 020 8748 3391