Open Mon–Sat 10am–midnight, Sun midday–11pm
I was somewhat apprehensive about my first visit to The Spotted Horse after its recent refurbishment, due to a couple of slightly unimpressed reviews of the service being quite slow. But this was not something I experienced at all, in fact I was taken aback by how beautiful the interior was of this 250-year-old-pub in the heart of Putney, and the attentiveness of the friendly staff. Faye, our wonderful host for the evening, was fresh and cheerful, and ensured we were kept well watered and fed.
Outside, the Tudor-style facade is a charismatic emblem of Victorian Putney before the high street likes of Poundland and Specsavers made their homes there. Inside, the charm is maintained but enhanced with a colourful modern London touch—possibly from the fingers of some creative Millennials—and this charm continues throughout the hearty pub dining area to the more relaxed, leafy Juniper terrace bar found upstairs.
Mustard yellow and turquoise hues lighten up the downstairs bar area, and emerald green and silver embellish the tastefully picked furnishings of the restaurant. The large velvet armchairs are divine to nestle into, especially if you’re sitting next to the warming log fire—every finishing touch of modern elegance makes this pub more than just your standard pint-producing local.
Basically, whoever was in charge of the interior design did a wonderful job.
Young and old, well mannered and smartly dressed residents of the area or professionals from offices nearby. For a Monday evening there was a surprisingly large number of visitors either enjoying a drink or dinner. It is much less the casual pub it was beforehand.
With recommendations from Faye, we chose the indulgent baked camembert for sharing with rosemary sprigs, truffle honey and sourdough soldiers (£15). It was intensely creamy, comforting and delicious—but was probably a bad move as this lined our stomachs a bit too much before moving on to our mains!
I then had the slow roasted Wickes Manor pork belly, herb mash, cured bacon, Savoy cabbage, spiced apple and crackling (£15.50) which came with gravy. I’m an avid roast dinner fan and this was quite similar, so was very enjoyable. The mash was creamy, the crackling was perfectly crunchy and the mixture of tastes of the different meats was succulent. Unfortunately I filled up quite quickly, but nonetheless it was a warming and enjoyable dish.
For dessert I had the rich apple and blackberry crumble with creme anglaise (£6.50), but again, as much as I wanted to I couldn’t finish it—I blame the Camembert!
Even though I left feeling far too full, this was simply due to the menu definitely being good value for money in terms of portion sizes. And the quantity certainly did not encroach on the quality.
The cocktail menu isn’t necessarily the most informative in terms of ingredients, but each drink is based on a classic. I opted for the SW15 Sour (£9) which was a tasty amaretto sour, and the SpoHo espresso martini (£9), which was smooth and easy to drink, and helped me not to fall into a food coma after the main course.
The pub also has a special gin and tonic menu with suggested pairings such as Sipsmith sloe gin paired with fever-tree lemon tonic and garnished with a lemon wedge and berries (£7.10).
In a nutshell
Elegant yet trendy decor mixed with chilled music and fine quality food makes this pub quite unique, as it takes the typical gastropub look a few steps further. The food really is a delight, however if you’re going to go for the Camembert as the starter of your three course meal, be warned, it will fill you up! Nonetheless, you won’t regret it.