I don't eat steak that often but I'm starving and steakhouse is the theme for tonight's menu, one of six Friday night dinners to be held at the pub that recreate food types eaten out during the twentieth century (see also Brasserie, Trattoria, Wine Bar, Fine Dining, and Gastro Pub).
I'm looking forward to this meal, but I've had my fair share of rubber steaks, so no expectations on that front. Plus, even in Chelsea, an abundance of cash doesn't always equal quality food; sometimes it can lead to way too much chewing.
Two steaks arrive, one sirloin, one rib eye. Well, they look good.
Next thing; try my knife and see if I get resistance. The knife calmly plunges through the meat and my plus one puts away his chainsaw. Hallelujah, we have no rubber. But we do have two very large and tender steaks with fantastic chips and ramekins of smooth buttery béarnaise sauce on the side.
The chunky Greek salad is pretty great too, a generous portion with loads of feta and olives.
As for the puddings, I've never had Cornflake ice-cream before, but I'll definitely be making this at home some day and even though I've never understood how bread and pudding can arrive at anything other than plain weird, I'm told the healthy portion of this dessert is worth ordering.
It's quiet for a Friday night and the modern take on reading room/gents club feels a bit franchised (are those books real?) but who cares; the food's fantastic. I like to eat in relative peace anyway and looking at the tables of regulars sliding in for food with dogs in tow, it's got a good fan base.
So, with one pub chalked up on the board for West London meat fiends, I decided to uncover some of the area's other pubs to take up the gastro gauntlet and feed their carnivore customers as well as they water them.
Meat-Lovers Pubs In West London
It's definitely worth trying The Cadogan Arms a bit further down the Kings Road. Wood panelling, brick and antler adorned walls make this bar feel more country haunt than city pub but that's not a bad thing. It's spacious, there's a billiard room upstairs and the lunch and dinner menus feature plenty of meat dishes, though the deer's off I see. There is plenty of fish and shellfish from Billingsgate as well.
Upping the ante slightly in the food stakes, The Admiral Codrington in Kensington has featured in the Michelin Guide: Eating Out In Pubs guide for six years. Dark wood (again) in the bar changes into light and bright contemporary comfort in the eating areas and there are some very handy trestle tables outside in the garden area.
Not far away on Kensington Court Place, The Builders Arms (mark 2) stands out a mile; it's a beautiful light green Georgian building. As for the food, it's what you'd expect from a gastropub, with a reputation to keep, and there's plenty of meat on the menu too especially on a Sunday with their renowned Sunday roasts.
Over towards Fulham Broadway on Walham Grove, the award-winning Harwood Arms is serious about its food. They know the provenance of their food, they like their meat wild rather than farmed, and they shop carefully. It's still a pub with a quiz night though. They just love great food as do their faithful customers.
Nearer the river in Fulham, The Chelsea Ram emulates the gastropub quality and interior of its sister pub, The Builders Arms in Chelsea. Carnivores will be happy but fish comes in from Cornwall every week so keep an eye out for some weekly fish specials.
Pub number seven and veering up in to Acton, the serious-about-food and very busy Duke of Sussex adds a twist to the norm with a wide range of Spanish influenced dishes along with more recognisable gastropub food and, of course, that essential meat for meat lovers.
If however, none of the above appeal and you just want meat and plenty of it, head over to The Elk Bar in Fulham. Although technically not a pub, this bar does boast sport on TV, beer, cocktails and a barbecue that has it's own name (The Big Smoke) dishing out huge burgers much like the one pictured above. There's also the option of throwing away all the niceties of West London gastropub dining with a Man vs Food challenge a la Adam Richman. They're thoughtful too as challenge winners get a dual purpose T-shirt; it covers up any post-challenge drool and more importantly, it's brilliant for that essential post-win posing.
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