Open midday—11pm Mon—Wed; midday—midnight Thu—Sat; midday—10.30pm Sun
I reviewed this place a year ago when it was The Pelican and, honestly, not much has changed. The big white bird over the fireplace has gone but there are still distressed sofas to loll around in.
The pub sits on the corner of two streets so what feels like the pub side (with the bar) sits on All Saints Road. The dining area out back takes up the Tavistock Road side and is all wooden floors and art on the walls. Owner Alli is keen to source more of them, so local Leonardos should get in touch.
You’re just as likely to find some of the more familiar Portobello reprobates as you are some posh west London kids; it just depends which night you go. Certainly this year has seen some long-serving hedonists in attendance, which happily proves the dinner party set haven’t cleansed Ladbroke Grove of all its characters just yet. Come the weekend, when they often have a DJ, you’ll find the drinkers doing their bit for the pub industry.
Alli, the owner, delighted me with her uneasiness about the pig’s head that had been boiling in her kitchen all day; that was enough to make me order it. Truth be told, the brawn (£6.50)—which turned up as a terrine—was bland. The companion apple sauce was too tart, but the arran mustard relish saved the dish, with big vinegary mustard seeds adding some much-needed flavour.
Crab on toast (£7.50) was a much better choice, gently spiced and fulfilling. The gluttons amongst you will want to order the pork chop (£14), which is as big as your face. Stealing the show was the accompanying black pudding, which is battered and oozes apple sauce when you spear it. Its unhealthy nature was inversely proportional to the pleasure it brought. Chicken and mushroom pie (£13) arrived all cute in its own little tin tray and with a sexy gravy under the light pastry. It was the kind of dish that would make you feel loved on a moody Tuesday.
We thought a shared chocolate pot (£5.50) would be a delicate way to finish as we were full. We were wrong. It was a generous Kilner jar of what tasted like gooey Terry’s Chocolate Orange, complete with brownie pieces. It was a devilish dessert—every time we thought we were done, we had room for just a bit more. My only regret about the chow was wishing I’d tried some of their bar snacks, such as kedgeree scotch egg.
The bar features some beers you’ll find everywhere and a few of the more interesting newcomers like Portobello and Brewdog. We had some Tempranillo with the grub that was very decent and with a multitude of bottles behind the bar staff, there’s every likelihood you’ll find something to suit your mood.