Formosa Street, London W9 1EE www.theprincealfred.com
Danielle Woodward steps back in time in this Victorian pub and restaurant in Maida Vale.
Near the picturesque canals of Little Venice, the Prince Alfred pub looks like a relic of Dickensian London. With many original features, such as the glass snob screens to give drinkers privacy and the ornate textured ceiling and brightly coloured wall tiles, it’s a living piece of London’s publican history.
The atmosphere was calm and convivial on the weekday evening we visited, with West London’s workers chatting and enjoying a pint after hours, just as they have done since the pub first opened in 1856.
Walking through the pub, you’re surrounded by Victoriana. Images of Alfred (Queen Victoria’s second son and the pub’s namesake) hang on the walls and the impressive cellar area downstairs (originally used for storing coal), has cosy booths situated under stone arches, that are perfect for small gatherings.
Our table was in the new dining area extension, with its contemporary style and vast skylight making the most of the early evening light. The vibe was relaxed; ideal for catching up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while.
The menu champions British seasonal food and to start I chose the wholegrain mustard cured wild salmon parcel, potato salad and golden beetroot, while my friend had the ham hock, wild mushroom and truffle terrine, crackling crumble and bacon jam. The salmon was delicious, with just enough mustardy bite and crunch of the beetroot and my friend enjoyed the combination of ham and truffle.
There’s a wide range of wines with clear explanations of flavours,which helped us make our choices. I went for a glass of English Bolney Estate Lychgate White, which had a hint of orchard fruit and from the’savoury and complex’ section my friend chose a red, a CÃƒÂ´tes de RhÃƒÂ´ne St Esprit Delas, described as’elegant, black pepper, violet.’ Both went down well.
Mains on offer included sea bass, pork belly, duck leg confit, burgers, steak and sausage and mash Ã¢â‚¬â€œ all very tempting, but I went for the lamb with ragstone goat cheese, peppers, sultanas, minted peas and mint sauce, which came a little too rare for my taste but the sweetness of the sultanas and mint contrasted well with the savoury meat.
My friend continued her truffle theme by choosing the potato dumplings, wild mushroom, spinach, truffle cream and Charmer crisps, which, she said, was rich and satisfying.
Dessert was the Prince Alfred mess for me, a rectangular slab of peach parfait, with lemon and coriander meringue, berries and raspberry coulis, and my friend had the rhubarb and apricot tart with honeycomb ice cream and blackberry coulis.
We left the Prince Alfred with full, satisfied bellies and the experience of enjoying good food with good company in pleasant, picturesque surroundings. I think we might well return.