Open Mon–Thu 11am–11pm; Fri–Sat 11am–midnight; Sun midday–11pm
Formerly The Shaftesbury Arms, The Shaftesbury’s recent refurb seems to have been inspired by this year’s Jubilee celebrations – think Union Jack colour scheme and prints, Chesterfield wingchairs and vintage furnishings, old photographs and wood panelling. We were lucky enough to visit on one of those rare warm evenings, so headed straight to the pretty jasmine-scented garden. However, they’re prepared for our typical English summers – there’s covered seating, outdoor heaters and a trunk of blankets located near the door.
We enjoyed people watching at this locals’ pub – the couple who barely spoke to each other, groups of friends including a scruffily-dressed dog owner with her handsome lab and old men who have made The Shaftesbury their second home.
Previous tour chef to Paul McCartney, Amir Pems’ British, seasonal menu focuses on fish and riverside beef – the steaks are butchered in-house and cooked in a charcoal oven. The boyf and I fought over the starter of asparagus soldiers with a poached hen’s egg and mint pea sauce (£6.50). The boyf won (although I stole some) so I had the spicy sweetcorn chowder (£6). He loved his flavoursome fillet steak (£12.25 per 100g) which came with triple-cooked chips (I stole a few of those, too), watercress and hollandaise sauce. My roasted beetroot risotto with pumpkin seeds (£9) was deliciously creamy and we had fun making an (obligatory) mess of our dessert of DIY Shaftesbury Mess, brought to the table in a mixing bowl along with a wooden spoon and separate pots of fresh strawberries and cream.
I enjoyed a mean Sipsmith Leapfrog Highball (with lemon and ginger beer; £7.50) while the boyf had a Trindidad Libre (made with Angostura 1919; £7.50) before we moved onto a New Zealand sauvignon blanc (£6.25 for 175ml) for me and an Australian shiraz (£5.65 for 175ml) for him, from the play-it-safe wine list. This is a Young’s pub so expect their cask ales, but they also offer speciality craft beers such as London Meantime brews.
We walked past next door’s The Hope after we left. Its name seemed rather apt – it looked hopelessly deserted.