Thatched House, Hammersmith

I had heard great things about the Thatched House in Hammersmith taken over by the proprietors of The Ship in Wandsworth.  Mr and me hadn’t visited since a messed up birthday party booking a couple of years ago.  Since then, the venue and any mention of the words ‘Thatched’ and ‘House’ together or in a sentence regurgitates heated discussion of the non-event.

Mr is normally excellent at letting things go but this particular bit between the teeth is not for loosening.  I was delighted to have an excuse to be invited to give it a shot since its new tenant took control and the blog was the fabulous guise.  I support the boy wherever I can but when it’s a case of new owners and new food, even I have to get amongst it and the blog’s the perfect foil.

A lick of paint, a new pub image and inside a marriage of the old and new in the furniture department.  A refuge for the smoker in a large outside courtyard, a spacious conservatory and a long bar for those popping in for a solo-experience.  There’s also the odd flat screen for those who like to keep an eye on the sport.  When I visit there’s a trio of women with their newborns, men supping a well-earned pint after a day in the office and a couple having dinner, watching the opening ceremony.

A relaxed, comfortable atmosphere to enjoy the house Pale Ale, a signature Scotch egg or one of the many gin brands with homemade tonics on offer.

A selection platter for one seemed an extravagance so I ask if the portion size could be reduced so that I can try a little of everything.  The only thing they don’t make here is the pork pie so that reduces the size of my starter considerably.  I start with the salt beef sandwich which did not disappoint.

In fact, writing this now and the tastes and textures all starts coming back to me as if I’ve just eaten it.  The delicious soft salt beef, paired with the crunchiest gherkin, the homemade harissa mayonnaise with mixed leaves that were all packed in warm white bread.  The home-cured smoked salmon given its cherry-red fringe with the help of a cure in Sipsmith’s Sloe Gin, was stunningly good and the fennel shavings were really all it needed.

The Welsh Rarebit (given to me in place of the pork pie) had the perfect mature cheese to grain mustard ratio and was a fabulous addition.  The Ship, the Wandsworth sister pub, takes its Scotch egg seriously enough to organise an annual competition so the deep-fried orb that is delivered is sensational.

A Panko-breadcrumbed crust holds a well-seasoned, herb-studded pork sausage meat and within that an oozing jewel-like yolk from the Costwold Legbar egg (available in Waitrose).

Even the fresh leaves adding coloured decoration to the selection has a delightful dressing.  The full-sized snack platter is good value at £12 but order judiciously as the portions are on the large size.

I try to resist a half pint of the Sambrook’s Thatched House Pale Ale but have never been any good at temptation so give that a shot.  Refreshing, exclusive, and a great alternative for those not keen on gin.  Draft offerings include Young’s PA ‘Ordinary; Young’s SPA ‘Special’ and Sambrooks ‘Wandle’.  Lager drinkers will enjoy the Meantime London Brew.

Most pubs have a few bottles of gin but the Thatched House makes a special effort, their excuse is that just “a wobble away” lies the Sipsmith distillery.  Makes sense then that they take full advantage of their artisanal neighbour – they stock all their offerings and are supported by the duo behind the copper still, there’s even an homage on one of the pub walls.  TH make their own tonic to compliment the spirit.  Choose from Celery and Lemon; Cucumber and Mint; Chai Tea and Hibiscus; Earl Grey and Coriander; Green Tea and Pickled Ginger; Lemon grass, Kaffir Lime and Basil.  I had a large Sipsmith with the cucumber and mint and it was incredibly refreshing.

With my “I never mix drinks” mantra well and truly out of the window here I’m tempted by the brilliant illustrations which compliment the menu.  The Aperol looked so inticing – the subtle sketch did it’s job and I ordered it.  It was fabulous – whether your on the side of the olive or not.

But the one mistake I made was ordering the house burger.  Made with what could be the perfect formula – 60% fore rib, 20% chuck and 20% fat all in a patty served in a Viennois bun (like a Brioche) gherkins, salad, chips and a slice of in-house processed cheese.  It was massive.  I left the bun and the majority of the chips and had to relinquish a half-filled plate.

Nonetheless I grab the dessert menu and feel cheated that I’ll miss the cherry jam roly poly.  I tell the delightful waitress who has looked after me so well.  Within a thrice she’s chatted to the kitchen and returns to tell me she can organise a slender sliver.

It’s dense, it’s light, and I taste sweet and salt and it’s probably one of the best I’ve eaten – I even ask for the recipe.  I waddle to the door then I waddle home, it’s a small price to pay for a fabulous pub meal, not gastro but by no means mediocre.

This one is definitely worth the hike West, maybe this review will convince my very own Mr to give it a go.  If he’s not a willing participant I can assure you reader he’ll be dragged, kicking and screaming – that roly poly is a death row pud for me.

Weekly Monday pop-up dinners will see talked-about chefs taking over the kitchen – the first is a Masterchef finalist and tickets sold out in a heartbeat.  Keep an eye on the website for future events.

The pub also claims to do a knock-out Sunday roast – and after my dining experience, I believe it probably does – so if you’re looking for a place to chill on a Sunday give the TH a thought – the lovely Ravenscourt Park opposite is a great way to work up, and off, the calories.

Special thanks go to Mike Walsh who was a delightful host and the wonderful Medhi Jeanjean who was the alchemist conjuring up the culinary magic in the kitchen.

The Thatched House, 115 Dalling Road, Hammersmith, London, W6 0ET

020 8748 6174

thatchedhouse@youngs.co.uk