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The Dove, Hammersmith – a well-loved riverside gastropub
Leave behind the bustle of Hammersmith Broadway and go down to the Bridge. Here is William Morris’s Thames – the same he describes in ‘News from Nowhere’ perhaps not so very much changed. On an early Autumn evening, the river certainly has a timeless quality.
A short walk past elegant Regency houses and picturesque moorings brings you to The Dove Hammersmith; a Grade II listed public house dating from the early 18th century. Numerous literary greats – including Graham Greene, Ernest Hemingway and Dylan Thomas – took refreshment and inspiration within, and Morris himself lived just next door. The words of ‘Rule Britannia!’ are said to have been penned here by James Thompson.
Duck in through the narrow entrance. The interior is nicely unreconstructed. Linger with a drink by the fire in the front bar. It’s cosy – and The Dove listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest bar room in the UK!
A few steps up reveals a pleasant, deceptively spacious dining area which boasts low ceilings and original low wooden beams, and beyond that, a riverside terrace, with splendid views of the said river – perfect for watching the world go by whatever the weather.
Unsurpisingly, The Dove is well loved byHammersmith locals; it’s friendly, relaxed, informal and always pleasantly busy.
We took our table and settled down for the evening with a bottle of Italian Gavi di Gavi Piemonte from the hills of Gavi in Italy – a deliciously dry and grassy white wine with an appealing freshness.
The menu offers a good choice of traditional pub dishes and some modern plates with a bit of twist.
We started with a bit of a throwback to the 70s; a creamy chicken liver pate with an unusual addition – a sprinkle of crunchy pork scratchings – served with toasted sourdough and an autumnal apple and vanilla chutney. The pork scratchings may sound awful, but it turned out to be a surprisingly tasty touch.
The South Coast crab with mint and a decent sprinkling of coriander was also rather good and the perfect accompaniment for the sourdough crisp, accompanied by generous dollops of lemon gel, avocado and watermelon.
For mains I chose one of the specials; langoustines with garlic butter, salad leaves and perfectly crispy house chips. Those crustacea proved wonderfully garlicky and succulent, once you got to grips with the claws. Quite a treat!
My friend enjoyed the pan-fried Sea Bass, moist and flaky and recumbent upon a bed of buttery sautéed courgettes with crunchy fennel, lemon and dill.
For dessert – all the way from Hampshire so we were told – was the truly scrumptious smooth soft strawberry pannacotta served with raspberry ice cream and some delicious burnt toffee flavoured honeycomb…a lovely end to our meal.
The Dove has been owned by Fullers since 1736 and attracts locals and visitors alike serving a great selection of fine wines, real ales and delicious food.
Local or not, if you fancy an autumnal walk along the River Thames, a pleasurable dinner in a charming and cosy pub steeped in history with a glorious view of the river into the bargain, I highly recommend a trip to the Dove Hammersmith.
19 Upper Mall,
London W6 9TA
Looking for a classic pub in Central London? Check out our review of the Newman Arms in Fitzrovia.