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The Windsor Castle (Bar)

Picture of The Windsor Castle in Notting Hill, London

114 Campden Hill Road, Notting Hill, London, W8 7AR
Cuisine: Pub
Tel: 020 7243 8797 | Email to The Windsor Castle | Transport: Notting Hill Gate | Write review

The Windsor Castle Review

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Best for: beer pairing and wine selection; people-watching.

Great: attitude and attention from servers.

It's funny sometimes taking a moment to watch the human race when they're under the influence of booze. I normally note this when I'm on Old Compton Street, sitting at a pavement-side table, watching those who – in their day jobs are management consultants or PR people – turn into hedonistic characters, tripping over their heels, slobbering over colleagues and deeming the pavement the perfect bedtime spot.

But Soho is only one London spot to view this debauchery. Of late, this was perfectly embodied in my experience at the upmarket Windsor Castle gastropub in west London.

Now, I should note that this is, in actual fact, an unfair initial comment about the Windsor Castle, which is an expertly renovated, centuries old pub with great charm, indulgent food and some of the best servers I've come across. You see, the Friday night of my arrival was the hottest of the year. Friday...heat...booze…you can picture it.

In the courtyard, of which we had a view from our table, the summer vibe had entered the bloodstream of the pub's patrons and, like monkeys in heat, they danced lustily, squealed intensely and drank down Remy Martin XO heartily, straight from the neck of the bottle (note: I do not know what would happen to an actual monkey, should you give it Cognac). It was like being at the zoo and my dining partner – the boy – and I wholeheartedly hoped they wouldn't break past the boundary.

Animal Park sentiments aside, the Windsor Castle's offerings impressed. The 19th century pub has recently benefited from a renovation sympathetic to its roots. The modernity comes in the form of sleek creamy beige walls dotted with nicely framed prints and a trendy beer offering that even the most astute CAMRA fans would do well to take note of.

Our table faced out to the garden and, on a less chaotic night, would have been a romantic dining spot. Dark brown and brass-studded club chairs allowed us sit back in comfort and the table was adorned with fresh flowers in a clay jug. Our server – the affable, relaxed but very on-top-of everything, Jess – managed to balance taking care of our needs and sweeping out the drunkards from the dining room repeatedly with evident ease.

One of the dining menu's key elements is that each dish is matched with a beer, making for a more diversified option. As such, the boy and I chose to have beers to begin and follow with wine. As we enjoyed those (mine a Duvel, as the pub was out of the pre-paired 312 Urban Wheat Beer and the boy's a Hopback Summer Lightning), we looked on to the outdoor garden scene in bemusement. Even by 8pm the expansive space – which you'd not notice from the street entrance – was chock-a-block with the after work crowd in their late 20s and early 30s, vibrant with the recent vitamin D injection.

When our food arrived, however, I was fully distracted from the jumping monkeys. My Devon crab with celariac and apple coleslaw was stunning (though, if I were picky, the coleslaw could have used some lemon to break up the mayonnaise) and the boy's ham hock and broad bean terrine was mighty and meaty (though, unfortunately, missing the advertised picalilli which would have been appreciated).

Then came our mains – the boy's an expertly cooked 28 day dry-aged rib-eye steak with bone marrow, and mine two starters (something I frequently do in place of one main) of warm English asparagus with Hollandaise and a gooey, soft-yolked Scotch egg that could compete with the best of them.

To finish, we indulged in a hazelnut chocolate brownie with salty peanut butter ice cream, along with a dram of Bowmore 18 year old and another of Auchentoshan 12 year old.

And while the zoo tried to distract – there was a birthday cake and singing, a lot of yelling about a lost ring, and more Cognac swigging – we felt safe and sound on our side of the fence, comforted by the knowledge that the team at The Windsor Castle know just how to treat guests, both the sober kind and the park life kind. more

Customer Reviews for The Windsor Castle

Average (based on 6 votes): 6 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of The Windsor Castle.

“Had a revamp earlier in the year, and the WIndsor Castle is as good as it ever was. Great atmosphere, especially in the garden when the weather is warm.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
mike, London (7 years 9 months 11 days ago)

“Packed! The pub was heaving tonight, beer garden was overflowing with not enough seats to go round. Beer was running out but who cares! Great pub, great night.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Dan, London (10 years 1 months 24 days ago)

“Two meals for £15 with a drink during the week is a fantastic deal and so it has become my lunch break retreat! I havent been in there during the weekend though but they are advertising a Cribbage (its a card game!) tournament for Sunday evenings so I will be going their this weekend.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
James Platford, London (11 years 3 months 7 days ago)

Show all user reviews for The Windsor Castle

“A quirky pub in between Kensington High Street & Notting Hill. Lots of character & the sausages aren't half bad mum! Beer garden can be packed.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
jade, London (11 years 6 months 23 days ago)

“Being between kensington and Notting Hill, with great beer, cheap food and a ye-olde atmosphere, the clientelle is predictably 18-20 something, mostly beautiful. The outside benches and 'landed' public school crowd gives it a very country-pub-in-the-city feel, and its also popular with the london antipideans. The food is great for its price - pretty much everything under £10. You can sit outside and enjoy your beer under the pubs draping greenery, or in one of its three bars - separated by wood panneled walls, accessible by three doors in diminishing sizes, alice in wonderland style (the pubs main feature, and probably the reason why its so famous).”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Rachel, [ Unknown ] (16 years 9 months 12 days ago)

“I was lookng for a traditional English pub to take my parents (First-times in London) for a drink and meal. This place is great as it was built in 1835 and doesnt look at is its changed! It also doesnt play any music so you can chat without shouting and the food is great. It is a little pricey but well worth it as the portions are a good sizes and very well cooked. A very nice place to catch up with friends over a bottle of wine.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Lou, Hammersmith (17 years 4 months 19 days ago)

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Updated 13/10/2005

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