Open for lunch Mon—Sat midday—3pm, Sun midday—4pm; dinner Mon—Sat from 6pm
The Tommy Tucker, in Fulham, is the latest venture from Claude Compton, Jim Morris and George McCabe; the men behind Claude’s Kitchen, Amuse Bouche and Green Goat Food. This is their take on ‘the English boozer’, which always needs to be given the quotation marks to indicate that it’s not really an English boozer because nobody goes to English boozers anymore. Mainly because there aren’t many left because they’ve all been turned into gastropubs. Gastropubs like The Tommy Tucker, which then sell themselves as English boozers, in quotation marks, to people who want to go to a boozer but not one with a jukebox and a dartboard—it’s a vicious, middle-class cycle. But it works.
On a bitingly cold Monday night The TT was an inviting and warm refuge from the faceless and cold place Fulham Broadway has become. The lovely manager, who looked a lot like Miranda Richardson, ushered us over to a small table in an alcove adorned with floor to ceiling sheet music wallpaper of Music Hall classics. Chic it may be but it was a bit oppressive really and probably like being trapped in George Formby’s brain. However, our very nice French waitress quickly took an order for two Negronis that were very good and soothed the ‘My Old Man’s a Dustman’ paranoia.
A starter of scallops and chorizo with radish was delicious and very moreish—note to self, there is never enough of this dish. And the same goes for brown crab cakes with lovage and roast garlic mayo, which were crunchy deep fried balls of sweet crab meat cut through with slightly bitter lovage leaves and a pungent garlic mayo (you can’t call it aioli in an English boozer now, can you?).
For mains we went for the two dishes that said ‘winter’ more than any other—beef short-rib and chargrilled lamb. Both dishes were exceptionally good and showcased a chef with a deep understanding of classic flavour combinations. The lamb was tender but not fatty, served with roast veg and chicory leaves all in a slightly spicy, almost tagine-like sauce. The short-rib beef was a bit of a showstopper and drew admiring looks and palpable food envy. Tender, brisket-esque beef served on the bone in a salsa verde and a mountain of barbecuey arrocina beans. It was delicious and went perfectly with a glass of the recommended Carmel Blanche Marselan, a blend of Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Sat there on a winter’s night eating hunks of meat, veg and bread and drinking red wine by the light of flickering candles, we could easily have been in a Game of Thrones scene, if the Night’s Watch wore button-down Oxfords and brogues.
The dessert menu had only four choices, but they were options that left us both in a quandary. The Cox apple & quince crispy pie was packed full of hot velvety apple and served on a bed of cinnamon with a milk ice cream: good but not striking. The choc raisin and infused rum choc-ice, however, was without question the best dessert I have had in a very long time. Delicate rum and raisin ice cream sat under a thick slab of chocolate with an airy puff of salted caramel cream on the side, all swimming in almond milk. It wasn’t delicate or refined but it was bloody good.
As much as Claude and co may wish for it to be, The Tommy Tucker is not an English boozer. ‘Boozers’ don’t serve food this good in a place this nice, and I’m okay with that.