ETM goes West – Ealing Park Tavern:
Situated on the Brentford border of South Ealing, The Ealing Park Tavern is the latest addition to the ETM group of gastro pubs across London which include several of my personal favourite refined haunts such as ‘The Jugged Hare’ (nestled behind the Barbican Centre) and Chelsea’s ‘The Botanist’ (occupying number 7 Sloane Square). Having dined and drunk in several of the groups pubs across London I was keen to pop along to the opening night of the revamped Ealing Park Tavern, not a venue I’d been to before, which opened to a soft launch just before Christmas 2014.
I’ve always liked the approach which the ETM group take with their pubs decoration and character. Each pub retains it’s own distinctive feel whilst also letting whispering that it’s part of the group and it is the same with the Ealing Park Tavern. I was reliably informed that whilst it has been extensively refurbished, many of the original features (such as the beautiful wood paneled walls and gorgeous chandeliers in the main function room) which secured it as one of London’s historic pubs, have been preserved and retained.
So to the launch evening. I popped down not quite sure what to expect and was more than pleasantly surprised, walking into the tavern felt like I had taken a bus not across Ealing but out into the countryside. the first thing that hit me was the plethora of taxidermy adorning just about every wall space, the well stocked long main bar runs almost the length of the pub and the roaring log fires – not often you see real ones these days!
After taking a wander around – checking out the different rooms, the smaller bar area and the lovely alfresco walled garden, which in the summer will play home to ping pong tables, hammocks, cabanas and hog roasts – I finished my glass of very nice chilled prosecco and headed to the beer table to learn a little about what the Ealing Park Tavern will be brewing up in the future.
Apparently way back between 1728 and the mid 1800’s the site was home to the Lewis Furnell Brewhouse, since taking over the ETM group have brought that history and tradition back by brewing their own range of bitters, pale ales and lagers with a ‘brewmaster’ on hand to guide you through your choice of drink and to provide tastings, tutorials and classes to match beer and food’s. Chatting to the ‘brewmaster’ he was extremely knowledgeable about his craft and recommend several great beers which I tried through the evening.
My favourite beer was Rodenbach Grand Cru, 6% abv, which comes from the Rodenbach brewery in Belgium. This was a very rich beer with an almost wine like quality which I haven’t experienced before. It is blended from a barrel aged two year old beer and young beer, I really recommend trying it and imagine it would pair well with dark meats, steaks and rich gamey pies.
The second beer I tried was Beavertown Gamma Ray, 5.4% abv, which although looking like a classic piece of Americana is brewed in Hackney. It’s quite different tasted juicy and tropical, delish!
On to the food. ETM pubs usually serve up great pub classics and comfort foods served with a great new flourish. The overall ethos is always on sourcing excellent produce such as seafood from Billingsgate market and Lake District Farmers. Set up in the main function room along with beer tables was a table with a great selection of cheeses which are available on the menu as a cheese plate. I dived in sampling goats cheese, Colston Basset Stilton (a perennial favourite) and my standout cheese of the evening, Burwash Rose Sussex, a soft unpasteurised cheese. With biscuits and pear jelly it was a perfect plate to accompany my glass of Rodenbach Grand Cru whilst sitting by the golden fire. A beautiful way to spend a cold January evening!
Through the evening we were plied with various trays of decently sized croquettes (one of my favourite finger foods). Fillings I tried included shrimp & bacon and black pudding. My favourite? black pudding!
The piece de resistance of the evening were the pulled pork rolls, served with sage and onion stuffing and a good portion of crackling. The pork had been cooked in a wonderfully flavoured gravy with a nice bit of wine in it too. I don’t mind saying I had to go back for seconds and thirds here are they were soo good. Washed down with a glass of house white from the Languedoc it was a perfect end to the evening.
The Ealing Park Tavern is open for drinks and meals and also has several function rooms available for private hire, either for private dining or parties. The average cost per head for a meal is quoted at being around £35 which puts in at a mid price range. I think the quality of the food, wine and beer they are brewing on site more than justifies the the cost.
Ealing Park Tavern
222 South Ealing Road