Matthew Steeples reviews the newly refurbished Chelsea pub and restaurant The Hour Glass
The Hour Glass was one of Kensington and Chelsea’s few remaining “grotty pubs” until the start of the summer when it finally closed. It served Guinness on tap – which was the only reason a friend of mine went in (and he paid for it and then took it to a restaurant across the road) – but now, after a just completed refurbishment, it will soon be firmly on the map given the excellence of what its new management have created.
Until now a single-storey, Indian carpeted affair that long ago should have shut down, The Hour Glass’ reinvention began at the behest of the team behind the popular yet not inexpensive Brompton Food Market. Here, however, Luke Mackay and David Turcan, have taken a different tack and created what is essentially an affordable pub menu but one that is focused on quality British produce.
The simple 6, 6, 4 principle (6 starters, 6 mains and 4 puddings and cheeses) has been applied to the restaurant menu – which is offered both in the bar and in the newly created 28-cover dining space upstairs – but where The Hour Glass excels is for its selection of 13 bar snacks. Priced between just £2 and £12.50, this English take on the sharing plate made so popular by such places as Russell Norman’s Polpo and Polpetto will appeal to those who simply want to graze whilst enjoying a glass or two. Options number ‘beer sticks’ (£2, sliced sausicon to those – like me – who’ve never heard this description before) and a light whipped cod’s roe with sour dough and raw fennel (£4.50).
Those feeling like something more substantial would do well to try starters such as crab with sea vegetables (£7.50) or a hearty and satisfying duck, pearl barley and penny bun broth (£7.50). Continuing to mains, my host – on our first visit – sampled a breast of lamb with green sauce and potch (£14) that was complimented as “perfectly cooked” whilst I opted for haddock and chips (also £14). For me, this was frankly too large a portion but galloping gourmets will most certainly devour this with aplomb.
To conclude, we both finished with blackberry and almond tarts with Jersey cream (£6). This simple English classic was well executed and the ideal end to what can only be described as a most satisfying meal.
Given The Hour Glass reopened only two weeks ago, few know about its new look and the changes that have been made. The pub doesn’t even have a website yet so be sure to book before Fay Maschler and tribes of food bloggers descend. You won’t be left out of pocket and you won’t be disappointed.
The Hour Glass, 279 – 283 Brompton Road, London, SW3 2DY. Follow on Twitter @thehourglassSK.
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It looks good. I never visited it in it’s previous manifestation: it had the look of a place that might have smelt of stale urine
In over thirty five years on the ‘manor’ I’ve only twice had a drink at THE HOUR GLASS pub. It was grotty and charmless as far as I was concerned. Triggered by your review Matthew, I popped in yesterday for lunch. You are absolutely right. It is an appealing place. Fresh, basic, unpretentious décor. Friendly, knowledgeable and attentive staff.
I went to the dining room on the first floor. No starter, straight into the Breast of Lamb. It was cooked beautifully and had a delicious flavour. I asked for, and got, some extra gravy. The portion was too much for me by about a third. So I was sad not to clear my plate.
For pudding I had Blackberry & almond tart with jersey cream. Pleasant enough but disappointing. At most there were three blackberries to be seen in the tart and they could hardly be tasted. The £6 for this dish was not justified. (I could get a punnet of luscious blackberries for just £1 in North End Road market!) The waiter offered to remove it from the bill, but I thanked him and declined. After all, I had scoffed the lot!
The 2013 Cotes Du Rhone Poulardiere I had was a good choice. I enjoyed my meal. I would give them 7/10 “must try harder”. I shall recommend the HOUR GLASS to chums and will definitely return. Incidentally Matthew, I was told that Fay Maschler had popped in on Thursday!
They now have a website with their menu and wines list:http://hourglasspub.co.uk/
It’s simply nothing but wonderful. I loved everything about it. Not a single fault.
Agreed with everybody for a change. This duo really know how to transform a pub without killing the atmosphere.
Also, you can see the kitchen…..