The Princess Victoria:
Imagine your favourite local pub shutting down unexpectedly. That’s what happened a few months ago in Shepherd’s Bush, but hoorah! The Princess Victoria, built in 1829 and one of the original ‘gin palaces’, has recently reopened having undergone an extensive refurbishment by new owners Three Cheers Pubs.
The even better news is that it’s my local and I’ve been invited to review.
The pub interior is dominated by a handsome horseshoe bar offering over 100 artisan and big-name gins, 40 craft beers and real ales plus a good looking wine list.
But we are eating in the dining room, an elegant airy room painted a deep forest green with charming Victorian antique prints of wildlife and plants draped on the walls. Leather banquettes, a decorative architrave and chandeliers all add to the atmosphere.
As well as the gins and beers available there is an intriguing looking wine list. We choose an organic, biodynamic Circumstance Stellenbosch 2015, South Africa. It’s a crisp Sauvignon with lime and grassy notes and a well-structured acidity. With some homemade soda bread and focaccia that comes with olive oil and balsamic we are nicely set up for a look at the menu.
There’s a wide selection of items ranging from a British charcuterie board, an intriguing selection of Scotch eggs and a takeaway pizza menu. For a more formal dining option there’s a modern European influenced menu to explore.
Linguine vongole with cherry tomatoes and chilli came in a delicately perfumed broth. The pasta was firm to the bite and the clams were plump and juicy. Perfect for a cold November night.
Salt & pepper calamari was served with a kickass aioli. The squid was freshly cut and fried with a deliciously light batter. It was great to have this pub classic freshly prepared and not thrown out of a freezer bag into a deep-fat fryer as so often happens.
A perfectly cooked piece of pan-roasted cod had that crisp crust you can never achieve at home. It was served with a still crunchy braised baby gem lettuce and a deliciously delicate brown shrimp sauce.
Garlic chicken was a tender slice of breast meat with fondant potato contrasting with the soft sweetness of confit Savoy cabbage and tender carrots all served in a flavoursome chicken jus.
Sticky toffee pudding was surprisingly light but still rich and warming.
I loved the lemon posset and shortbread, the perfect light dessert to round off the evening.
The revamped Princess Victoria has a stunning private party room as well as a new heated front terrace and rear courtyard garden for those long summer evenings. But what is great for me as a local is that the food offer is much better than it needs to be at the price point with starters and desserts around the £6 mark and mains around £14/£15. It was already busy on a cold Tuesday evening so it looks as if the Princess has found her way back into the heart of the locals.
The Princess Victoria
217 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd’s Bush, London, W12 9DH
T: 020 8749 4466