Out of The Grove
Local gastro-pub doesn't quite live up to its hype
A bit like finding a film rather disappointing because you’ve already read and prefer the book, I shouldn't read reviews before visiting restaurants. According to the glowing reviews in local press, The Grove is “The jewel of Hammersmith gastronomy” and is “is still delivering its triumphant formula with remarkable consistency.” therefore I decided to give it a go.
Established a decade ago, The Grove is a gastro pub situated on the other side of the Goldhawk Road from the more fashionable Brackenbury Village and, according to its advertising, promises “modern European and Mediterranean masterpieces”.
Indeed it is “stylish but unpretentious, busy but welcoming” though visiting the pub on a balmy Thursday evening, our first impressions were a little less than favourable.
The welcome was indeed as warm as promised but we found it disconcerting to be shunted into a small corner adjacent to the bustling kitchen denoted as the “non-smoking” area. Bizarrely this miniscule space was full to bursting with non smoking diners whilst a good number of the smoking tables, which occupied around 80% of the large room, remained empty for the best part of the evening. Before I sound like an anti-smoking harridan, I had assumed that because we were in a pub that there was going to be smoking around us and that was fine, it was being offered a no smoking table and then being squeezed into a tight spot that was off putting.
Our final bill was £63.45 including £7.05 (12.5%) service charge which was somewhat irksome. Whilst the service had been adequate, it is galling for any establishment to put a customer in a position where to argue the amount of service charge appropriate would make them appear churlish. In fairness, our cramped table had put us in a petulant frame of mind and not wishing to take it out on an innocent waitress, we paid the full bill (including the service charge) and left.
June 21, 2006