You can imagine the Made in Chelsea crew hitting this sophisticated, charming nautical Hammersmith hot spot. But what's the goss behind the glitz, you ask?
Well, not much to get all up in their grill about here. I was spellbound by twinkling fairy lights strung above picnic tables, calmly poised in an idyllic riverside paradise. Summer sojourns don't get much more picturesque than that. Unfortunately for us, it was a tad on the chilly side so we settled for a cosy leather booth seat tucked into the wall. The Blue Boat infuses that good old fashioned tavern pub feel with a pinch of modern chic, obvious in the vintage bar stools, the homely book shelves and quirky bright blue chairs.
They call themselves a gastro pub but these were not any old fish and chips. We took our time ordering - mostly because the menu was written in a language we didn't speak. Every other word was a mystery to me. I wanted to fast-track to anything with avocado, halloumi or butternut squash but no such luck. I did find delights such as 'zhoug' and 'pipperade' which, to uncultured ears such as mine, sound very much like the names of childhood cartoons of extra terrestrials. This place was way more fancy than I'd anticipated.
I was straight on the quail, which I had never tried before (Bridie, is quail a bird?) which was served with carrot and walnut mash - a delightful little number. Bridie tucked into tuna tartare which came with avocado, sesame and chilli dressing. Again, this was foreign to me and looked pretty terrifying, but a daring forkful later and I was happy to have discovered an interesting new dish, light and unique and perfect to start with.
I went for the chicken breast, or as they like to call it, the 'roast ballotine of free range Norfolk chicken'. The meat was tender and it hit the spot, a real English feel good food.
We finished off with a chocolate almond tart to share, served with chantilly. No complaints about this pretty little piece - it was an indulgent work of art.
The pub was roaring with Friday night hype, Rebecca Black style, filled with what Bridie calls 'media types' (apparently it's all in the necklines, she can just tell). A friendly, eager-to-please waiter kept us fed, watered and good to go all night (plus his jazzy shirt kept a smile on our faces).
The best part about this place had to be the beer garden. With an outdoor area garnished with pretty lights, overseeing the still waters of our beloved Thames, you can make the atmosphere whatever you want it to be. I couldn't help but notice the couple snuggled under one jumper beneath the stars as we left, and, at the next table, a rabble of after-workers getting ready for a mad weekend. Anything goes.
So what's the goss? The dirt - it's a tad pricey (but in Hammersmith, that tends to be the case), the menu could have done with a bit more international spice (a risotto or a curry would have done nicely) and if it's raining, you'll be bitter about missing out on the outdoor treasure. BUT, as an overall, I'm glad I didn't miss the boat on this one (and you thought you'd escaped without a single nautical pun). The Blue Boat is a gorgeous little place with hella flare. This isn't just a cool kid hangout, it's a charming retreat, full of life, character and friendly faces in a pretty impressive location.