The Pembroke belongs to that ever-growing category of eatery – the Gastropub – providing a welcome culinary alternative to the (in) famous pub grub. Recently re-opened under a new name, you will find the Pembroke sitting majestically on the corner of the Old Brompton Road.
Once the cosy looking interior has beckoned you in, the décor, with its floral standing lamps and chandeliers, is mellow; the lighting, seductive. Old black and white framed photographs adorn the walls giving a touch of eeriness – but in a nice way.
You will find the dining area towards the back where sensibly spaced tables offer sufficient room for private conversations. Dining booths are available for larger groups. There is a vista into the kitchen providing a view of the calm and competent chef preparing your meal.
The Pembroke are proud presenters of fresh, seasonal food offering weekly changes to the menu. It is only a pity this is not blatantly advertised on the menu itself. The choices will appeal to the curious as well as to those in need of the familiar. For starters, the colourful ham hock terrine with its tangy mustard crème fraiche presented a light option. A good vegetarian option would be the deliciously fresh tasting mushrooms bathed in a creamy garlic sauce with a sprinkling of parsley accompanied with lightly toasted bread.
Fish was a key feature on the mains this week; the smoked haddock, leek and soft poached egg were inventive additions atop a creamy risotto. The 28-day aged steak and chips simply had to be sampled, I’m afraid. It was a boastful cut of ribeye glistening with succulence and full of flavour, most definitely a reflection of its maturity. Choose wisely and you should have room for dessert though be warned the choice will be a challenge. An immediate battle ensued between the peanut butter and ice cream pie and the pear and ginger crumble with crème anglaise. The latter won (on this occasion) and I was audibly satisfied right until the very last mouthful. I intend to return to work my way through the remainder on the list. If ice-cream turns you on, you might go for the farmhouse trio, with flavours such as the Strawberry tease, cinnamon spice and butterscotch crunch.
I should mention the liquids: Plenty of unpronounceable wines on the list to impress. The light Chilean Pinot Noir was a perfect accompaniment to the steak whilst the Klippenkop Chenin Blanc was chilled to just the right level of crispness for the fish. You need not feel awkward asking for tap water. Evidently accustomed to this request, it came nicely presented in an elegant bottle. The filter coffee, served steaming hot, earned top marks in my books.
With such fresh and deliciously tasting food together with the genuinely friendly and down to earth service, this makes a dining experience at the Pembroke a refreshing and most satisfying choice. I shall return.