I wasn’t enthralled at the opportunity to review a gastro pub on a blowy Wednesday winter night, especially as The Hampshire Hog happened to be in between Hammersmith and Ravenscourt Park: I’m a West London boy but I normally stop at Notting Hill. However, sandwiched between the residential and questionable commercial properties was this rose amongst thorns.
The Hampshire Hog is a delightful looking gastro pub; exposed wooden floors, white walls, a pantry stocked with fresh (locally sourced) veg, wooden furniture and a bar that wouldn’t be out of place in a top London bar. At the front are long and round tables ready for those after-work punters enjoying a sophisticated pint (or cocktail, of course). The pub then expands out the back into a square dining area (impressively 80% full on a Wednesday night). Not only is the inside simple and homely but the jewel in the crown is a vast beer garden with covered tables, heaters and even antique mirrors!
Atmosphere and Clientele
The Hampshire Hog has a wonderfully welcoming atmosphere, while somehow being quite cool too. If this pub was in Soho or Shoreditch, it would be filled to the brim with media types and trendies claiming it as their favourite local. Due to its location it is a lot more down to earth; sure there are the young professionals from nearby Disney and L’Oreal offices but no need to wear skinny jeans to fit in here. The Hampshire Hog is also nestled amongst the residential areas of Ravenscourt Park and Chiswick (ish) so there is also a more mature clientele, escaping the kids for a night, over a glass of red and delicious dinner. The music is background but they are linked up to Spotify so feel free to step up and control the music, although the bar manager did have to put a block on some rogue punter trying to sneak some Drum N Bass onto the speakers – not quite the vibe they are going for! As with most great gastro pubs there is a great buzz in the air of after work conversations, friends catching up and couples planning their next summer holiday. The real mix of customers makes for a laid back atmosphere where chitter chatter is the main noise to be heard.
Food and Drink
This is where The Hampshire Hog really shines. What stood the pub apart was the top-notch restaurant quality food, attention to detail, locally sourced produce and a killer drinks menu. The menu reads exquisitely, put together by a kitchen team that both care and know what they are doing. I shared a Pork Board (£18), which consisted of scotched quails egg, tempura pork belly, lardons & kale and celeriac remoulade…I know…not quite your standard pub grub! I could have had 3 of these – especially the posh scotched eggs! For mains I tucked into Maple-glazed wild duck breast, braised puy lentils and wild mushrooms (£18), which was served pink and was tender and delicious. Every single lentil was hovered up! My friend was equally impressed with her house-made herb gnocchi with a delectable selection of winter veg and leaves I’d never heard of, but are apparently in season!
To match the food, the drinks list is equally as impressive. Fresh out of the latest London cocktail bars, cocktails come in jam jars and milk bottles and vary from the classics to signatures (£7.50-£9.50). The Spring Thyme Martini was a delectable concoction of citron vodka, lemon curd, lemon juice and fresh thyme and the classic Gimlet was served to perfection. The choice of beers perhaps could be as selective as the cocktails but they do have a range of the commercial lagers (£4 pints), bitters and IPAs…dare I suggest some of London’s new craft beers as an option? Would have gone well with the rest of the place.
To say I was impressed with The Hampshire Hog would be an understatement. More centrally located, this gastro would be bursting at the seams every day but you have to make the best of a bad location and they most certainly have. Everything from the staff to the drinks to the food were genuinely top notch, five star and the attention to detail is very noticeable. I also spotted a cute private dining room, “The Pantry”, that would be perfect for a private special occasion. And let’s not forget the beer garden…when the sun shines again, it’s definitely one to check out if you’re in the area. The food is not cheap, especially for a gastro, but I don’t mind paying for quality and that is definitely what is served up at The Hampshire Hog, in spades.