Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Queens Arms - not so bad in the West

The pub is very well hidden, down a cobbled alleyway (sorry a mews) off a residential road lined with those prime, white, Edwardian terraced houses. (Before I really knew London, I always wanted to live in one of those, though I have since realised that they prevail in the West, where as I very much prefer the East side.) It’s also just that bit too far from shopping delights of the Kings Road or high-brown delights of South Kensington museums to avoid being over-run with crowds. There are wooden tables (high and low), wooden chairs. To be honest, I don't really remember the decor -- it didn't really stand out much from the standard modern pub mode. The pints of prawns though were luscious, even if they had run out of gloriously lumpy home-made aioli and had to resort to bog-standard mayonnaise for dips. And they were only £5 a go -- about half the price of those at The Well and firmly knocking on the head the myth of the West being more expensive than the East. The roast chicken and sausages and mash ordered by other people in the group smelled gorgeous and the portions were huge. With the hindsight of the next day's hangover we probably should have followed their example and had more than the prawns too. Which brings me to the great selection of drinks, with several real ales, my beloved Aventinus and the bright-pink strawberry-flavoured Fruli which seems to have cornered the market in beer drinkers who don't actually like the taste of beer. I also really liked the atmosphere -- there were people enjoying a weekend lunch and the papers on their own, girlfriends catching up over a bottle of wine -- it was a proper, leisurely weekend vibe. If I ever do end up in one of those Edwardian houses, having this as a local would go a bit of the way to soothing the departure from East London.

Queens Arms, 30 Queens Gate Mews, SW7 5QL; Tel. 020 7581 7741; Tube: Gloucester Road

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