Open Mon–Fri midday–3pm and 6pm–10pm; Sat 10.30am–4pm and 6pm–10pm; Sun 10.30am–10pm
Geronimo Inns was conceived in The Chelsea Ram. A youthful Rupert and Jo first opened her doors in 1995 as their very first pub, on their way to breaking new ground in the London pub scene over the next 17 years. They are back there now, with an extended dining room and their new partners in crime at Young’s.
The refurbished dining room is well finished – subtle purple stripes run through the wallpaper and the Mexican-feel, brightly-coloured carpet catches your eye without being garish. With exposed wood tabletops, upholstery and cushions aplenty, and fresh wild flowers on each table; it has a cosy, cottagey feel. However, a painting of the Rolling Stones hung behind us as Johnny Cash subtly emerged from the speaker in the corner, giving a vibe of effortless cool, too.
The mock-bookshelf door to the loos was fooling everyone – we had fun watching people walk past our table to a dead end; back up; gingerly try the discreet handle and smile with smug satisfaction when it opened up.
There is a defined separation between the after-work drinks group spilling out into the street and the more discreet diners around the corner from the bar. Families are at home here – a chocolate brown lab was lapping from his water bowl as his owners dined.
The menu is typically British and has something for everyone. I started with a plentiful portion of locally smoked salmon (£7.95) with tart lemon salad, dill and shallot dressing. The other half had the chicken liver parfait (£6.95) which came with a sweet apple and pear chutney and toasted bread, which makes a nice change to the usual rich brioche alternative.
My not-too-fishy fish cakes (£9.95) were light with a crisp coating and served with a perfectly poached egg, topped with hollandaise sauce and slightly bitter young spinach. He chose from the specials board; wonderfully tender pork belly (£11) served with apple mash; chunks of sweet cooked apple blended in with the mash, complimenting the pork well. To top it off, black pudding that was ‘possibly the best I’ve ever tasted’, which is quite a compliment from the connoisseur. We fought over the side of honey-glazed carrots (£3) which were roasted and dripping in sweet honey.
I couldn’t resist an Eton mess and chocolate fudge cake (£5.50 each). I particularly liked the sticky cane sugar meringue.
It was a rather hot day so we went for an Aspall’s cider (£4.10). The wine list is helpfully sectioned from the ‘Chardonnay Lovers and Friends’ to the ‘Warm Hearted Reds’ and their ales include Young’s and Sharpe’s.