374 Chiswick High Road
Tel: 020 8995 2607
Checking out a new pub in London is always a pleasure. There are so many good ones that have been resuscitated and brought back from the dead of the 90’s. The Crown & Anchor is one such establishment, offering a warm heart and a healthy pulse. With a little attention to the food it could be a great little boozer.
On a very wet and wild evening M and I drove out to west London in search of a warm smile and some hearty food (and avoid the plethora of loud TVs showing sports in pubs). We were in luck as we received both of these and a cosy environment in which to enjoy them in.
The vibe at the Crown & Anchor is super cool laid-back leather armchairs and wooden floors. There’s a log burner in the fireplace and a separate dining area where we enjoyed a booth to ourselves. It’s one of those wonderful pubs that have had a revamp in all the right places without touching the good stuff. So the paneling and ceiling architraves are intact, plus a great selection of real ales and craft beers as well as ciders and spirits. The wine was good too I had some excellent Malbec, that at £21.50 a bottle comfortably undercuts restaurant prices.
The warm welcome came in the form of Daria our Italian server. She was a ray of sunshine for nothing was too much trouble. She initially guided us to a pair of wing-backed leather armchairs in front of the log burner. Perfect for an evening of talk and drinking but maybe not for eating. So without a blink of an eye she repositioned us in a booth that was not only more comfortable for eating but also lovely and intimate.
The starters were OK but didn’t excite, the Scotch egg was a bit over cooked (or reheated?) and the salt & pepper squid not quite crispy enough. But the pan-fried Pardron roasted peppers were good and left a nice tang on the tongue. M’s two BBQ pulled pork (is there any other kind these days?) sliders were juicy and tasty.
In our booth the wall had old music hall poster for a night at The Chiswick Empire with a line up including Max Bygraves, Authors and Swanson and the brilliantly named Bob (Poker Face) Dixon on the piano, I would liked to have seen that evening!
Other diners also seemed to be enjoying the rugby free zone we had so craved. Hats off to the Crown & Anchor for having a decent sized area that was TV free and more to the point absent of over loud commentary, so we were able to enjoy a trip down memory lane with some fine 60’s, 70’s and dare I say 80’s pop music. That last one I feel might nowadays be called ‘vintage’ where as the others just ancient like M and me, well maybe not M.
The mains were much better than the first offerings. M’s skinny (no bun) burger with bacon and cheese was excellent. Clearly handmade and full of flavour, it ticked all the boxes. I did ask M if she realised that she would be eating a total of three burgers when she ordered and all I received in reply was one of those smiles that said ‘yes, and that’s the way I want it’. Sleeping dogs etc. My steak, pancetta and porter ale pie was super. A perfect antidote for the miserable cold evening outside it came packed with good ingredients and mash potato and great gravy. I also indulged in mac & cheese bites with truffle oil. These were a posh version of something from MacDonald’s and were a guilty pleasure I’d repeat.
We didn’t have a tremendous amount of room for desserts but gave it our best shot. M had sticky toffee & Medjool date pudding and I stayed with almost local produce and had Kentish Bramley apple & almond slice. Both were very good. My slice was tart and light and came with some jam. M’s pudding was the read deal, with plenty get stuck into but a bit heavy after three burgers (I just thought that and didn’t dare say out loud lest I get one of those ‘looks’).
The Crown & Anchor is a super pub that I wish I lived closer to. It has fine regularly changing ales, surprisingly good wine at competitive prices and a great atmosphere. The food if you choose carefully was also worth a visit for and of course there was the charming Daria who seemed to make all things better by her presence alone.