A couple of weeks ago Wayne’s parents came to stay for a weekend in London. We were on the hunt for somewhere special to take them for dinner, and somewhere they hadn’t been before. We are spoilt for choice when it comes to pubs, bars and restaurants in our leafy suburb and so the decision wasn’t an easy one. We finally settled on The Grove, a pub just around the corner from where we live and somewhere we had tried and tested with friends not too long ago. This pub has had a recent makeover, and what used to be a fairly dull spot for basic food and cheap drinks is now a classy, popular gastropub.
We had an 8pm reservation and were seated swiftly. Within a few minutes we were sipping our drinks and studying the evening’s menu. If you had seen the pub before its revamp you would hardly believe it’s the same place. Battered leather sofas have been replaced with mismatched wooden chairs, and a knocked down wall has opened up the space, allowing the divide between bar and restaurant to flow effortlessly. Old back and white photographs of Surbiton cover the walls and the candlelit tables give the restaurant an atmospheric glow.
Not only has the interior changed for the better, but more importantly so has the food! The menu is small, but there is something on offer for even the fussiest of eaters. We ordered some fresh bread with oil and balsamic to start, along with some mixed marinated olives to nibble on. The bread was good and the olives were delicious. Whatever they marinate them in worked perfectly and our conversation was halted as we polished off the bowl!
I opted for the chicken, and after much deliberation Wayne went for the ribeye steak. The roasted chicken breast, served with sweet potato dumplings and a mushroom and cream sauce, was honestly incredible. I know lots of people think that chicken is a boring option, but this dish was anything but dull. The meat was deliciously juicy and just melted in the mouth. The sweet potato dumplings are a genius idea and definitely something I want to try and recreate at home. The flavours were married together perfectly by the light mushroom sauce which wasn’t in any way heavy or too rich – I’m craving this again just writing about it! Wayne’s steak was good, but no better than good. He was slightly disappointed with it considering the price but confirmed he was very happy with the thick cut chips. In general everyone really enjoyed the food and the presentation was really beautiful.
Dessert, however, was definitely the winner! The sticky toffee pudding was AMAZING. The sponge was soft, the sauce warm and sweet without being too sickly, and we were served a really generous portion. It was more than enough for two of us to share and we still couldn’t finish it. The crème brûlée was also a hit with the table and was surprisingly light. There is something so satisfying about cracking through the shiny, sugary lid of a crème brûlée – this one was perfect!
I would highly recommend The Grove if you’re looking for a bit of affordable luxury in the Kingston area. The staff are really friendly and the atmosphere is perfect for a Friday night get together. I am so pleased that the pub has been transformed in the way that it has and I can’t wait for a little bit of sunshine so that we can visit again for drinks in the beautiful garden!