279-283 Brompton Road, South Kensington, SW3 2DY www.hourglasspub.co.uk
Cometh the hour, cometh the pub. Judith eats hearty at The Hour Glass.
The Hour Glass Pub occupies the site of a former old bloke’s boozer which has been transformed into a stylish bar and dining rooms in the fashionable Brompton Quarter of SW7, home to the Conran shop,elegant Italian interior stores and designer boutiques.
It was taken over last year by Luke Mackay and David Turcan – the duo behind Brompton Food Market, found just around the corner. The shop has become a neighbourhood favourite with its fresh English produce, secret garden cafÃƒÂ© and friendly service. This ambience is carried over to the Hour Glass where food is the main attraction, however tempting it is to linger in the pub, run by Henry Gravells the live-in Landlord, who has managed some famous pubs in London including The Pilot Inn in Greenwich, The Cabbage Patch in Twickenham and The Salutation in Hammersmith.
We chose to eat upstairs in the dining room, but the same menu is available in the comfortable surroundings of the bar. It was quiet and peaceful on a Monday evening, but I am told by the manager Max that the place is buzzing at the weekend both upstairs and down.
To start we ordered crab parfait, kohlrabi,apple and watercress and a beetroot, smoked eel and horseradish dish, both of which had interesting but not overpowering flavours.
Main courses include Aylesbury duck breast with parsnips, hazelnut, celeriac and rhubarb chutney which looked like a sound English dish, but I went for the stone bass, braised fennel, monks’ beard with a Seville orange and bisque sauce which was delicate but satisfying.
My friend ordered the rabbit, ham and cider pie with Brussels sprouts and mash which Max told us is one of the Hour Glass’ most popular choices and when it arrived with a perfect golden crust in a retro enamel dish it wasn’t difficult to see why. This was hearty English food cooked and presented with style.
Local suppliers include the delightful fishmongers and butchers on the French influenced Bute Street in South Kensington. The wine list had plenty of reasonably priced choices while down in the bar London brewers are prominent making up at least 50% of the draft options alongside some proper cloudy scrumpy, IPA’s and at least 3 guest ales.
I couldn’t resist sampling the triple cooked beef dripping chips, also an Hour Glass speciality, which didn’t sound like a healthy option but the flavour was worth the calories.
After that a light but flavoursome pudding was called for, and pumpkin ice cream with maple short bred and walnut brittle did the trick, while my friend’s rhubarb posset with meringue and ginger snaps had a warming British spice.
Ambience in the dining room is understated chic, with wood panelled walls salvaged from churches, old distressed mirrors which reflect the pub’s heritage and large windows looking out over the contemporary Knightsbridge designer shops. I preferred the view looking into the kitchen where I could see chef Tim Parsons hard at work.
Tim has experience working with Michelin-starred chefs such as Bruno Loubet and in restaurants such as The Ebury, and has also worked in some of London’s best food pubs,to which he can now add The Hour Glass.