The Cow Pub Notting Hill- London Pub Review
89, Westbourne Park Road, Notting Hill, London W2 5QH
Most famous for being one of the best places in London to sup a pint of the black stuff over half a dozen oysters, its popularity makes it hard to find a seat.
Décor and Vibe
The Cow Pub & Restaurant is charmingly old fashioned, with black décor on both the outside and the inside, with a warm Irish atmosphere, created by dated Guinness ads on the walls and small mismatched furniture and lamps. The first thing you notice, when walking inside, is a long wooden black bar with few round tables in an annexed squared room. Its fashionable cramped look made its fortune, I bet.
Guinness Time sign, The Cow Public House
The Cow is often defined as a Gastropub, which specializes in oysters and Guinness. However, the Cow's food menu breaks the London Gastropubs rule: above-average restaurant food at below-average restaurant prices. Its upstairs separate dining room with its own entrance and a larger seafood selection has more in common with an upmarket restaurant than with a pub. The simulation of an old Irish pub is so authentic and accurate that probably many of the regulars would be surprised to learn it was started by Tom Conran only 11 years ago. The name of the pub has a really bizarre story. While ordering my Guinness at the bar, they proudly told me the Cows former name was the Railway Tavern, but it was reputedly renamed after a former landlady with attitude.
Clientele and Atmosphere
The Cow is a pub of near legendary status amongst the local media crowd. As many other Notting Hill pubs, it appeals to people over thirty keen to seafood tasting on a cooler autumn Sunday evening. This Pub is perfect to catch up with 2-3 friends craving for fish, but not necessarily for a full meal.
The Cow's dining room
Across the years few celebrities, including Sir Paul McCartney and top model Kate Moss, have been spotted at The Cow. Sadly, the venue does not have enough space for a DJ set, but the upper dining room is available for private hire for parties of 12 or more. They operate a minimum spend policy as appose to room hire.
Food and Drink
The drinks' list is a delight and will appeal to everyone. Principal beers on tap are, Pilsner, Red Stripe Guinness and Hoegarden. As for wines they have an interesting but overpriced selection of both red and whites, from France, Italy, New Zeeland, Argentina and Spain. The cheapest bottle costs £21.
The Cow Pub and Restaurant
Seafood is an important part of the menu. They offer a slightly smaller selection at the bar than in the upper dining room, however the quality is the same. They serve both Irish and French Oysters, along with Crab and other shellfish, which is displayed on ice on the bar. They usually have also a soup of the day, the Cow fish stew and Aberdeen Angus fore rib. The average price for a main is £ 14, but seafood platters are far more expensive (£ 40-82.)I had a Cow Special A pint of Guinness and ½ dozen rock oysters (£14.00). They were exceptionally fresh. That Freshness granted The Cow AAs Best Seafood Pub in London award.
The Cow in Westbourne Park Road is a unique dining and drinking experience that gloriously honours tradition and local fish and produce. However, when it is full the service might not be of the expected standard from a pricey upper market Gastro pub.