The Bird in Hand

Open Mon 5pm–11pm, Tues–Fri midday–11pm, Sat midday-10.30pm, Sun midday–10.30pm

The style:

I went to this pub about six years ago and remember liking its relaxed, local pub feel; however, I hardly recognise it now. It’s had the full works in terms of pub make-overs; exposed brick, earthy wood tones, flattering lighting, pictures everywhere (plenty to look at if you are on a bad date) and by 7pm it was full.

The crowd:

There’s a real mix; couples, families, colleagues out for after-work drinks and anything in between. It is calm, relaxing but also vibrant and full of character. For where it’s situated I think they understand their target audience and as a result people flock like birds (sorry).

The food:

I’m terrible for indiscreetly scanning neighbouring tables to sneak a peak at what they’re eating. While at the bar I caught site of prosciutto and crispy capers (£4) on a block of wood. Rustic, tempting and ordered! The crispy capers worked well with the ham, and I reckon it’d be an easy one to replicate at a dinner party. For a starter the boyfriend had squid gnocchi (£8.50), which looked more attractive than it tasted. It was slightly watery with not enough chilli. Overall a bit disappointing. I went off-piste with the bone marrow and focaccia. As you’d expect, the bone marrow was gelatinous and oily and, as a result, the focaccia as an accompaniment was also too oily. Something cleaner would have complimented the bold flavour and texture of the bone marrow.

However, our main course redeemed the Bird in Hand. The boyfriend’s steak bavette (£16.50) was rich, the sauce and components all worked well together and he was happy. It was cooked medium rare at the waitress’ recommendation and he was glad he’d heeded her advice (he’s usually a rare man). I opted for the pheasant (£15). I was making all the right sounds. My only criticism was that it was a touch too salty and there was a bit too much going on. Stuffed, we soldiered on to pudding, devouring a moist carrot cake (£6). Which was faultless.

The drinks:

The waitress put forward a Portuguese red (Biere Tinto 2011, £23.75). It was drinkable but not heavy enough for us. If you go for red meat I would suggest a more robust red.

Brook Green may be a less obvious choice than, say, Notting Hill or Chelsea, but if you are after good food that’s reasonably priced then The Bird in Hand won’t disappoint.

The Bird in Hand, 88 Masbro Road, Brook Green, W14 0LR; ; 020 7371 2721

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