There is something wonderfully British about enjoying a meal in a London pub, and it’s something I don’t do enough. Last week I visited The Prince Alfred, a beautifully restored Victorian building in Maida Vale offering good quality and creative food in a wonderful setting.
The Prince Alfred and the adjoining Formosa Dining Room are grand and imposing, standing majestically on the corner of Formosa street near Warwick Avenue tube station. Inside, the original pub is beautifully kept with the snob screens still in tact (so staff and guests could avoid eye contact). To the average pub goer these screens appear as tiny wooden doors connecting different sections of the room; it is charmingly old fashioned, and makes the pub feel cosy and intimate. At the back, the more modern Formosa Dining Room is decorated with blue leather banquettes, patterned wallpaper and intriguing artwork.
The menu features British pub favourites presented in a stylish manner. Crispy Suffolk pork belly with crackling, braised cabbage and bacon, Worchester, sage and apple sauce was a decadent lunch time option. Cooked with finesse and arranged neatly on the plate. The pork was tender with a caramelised edge and the gravy soaked cabbage offered some moisture to the meat. The beef burger is a favourite with the locals who come in for lunch, and I can understand why… Flavoursome British beef is nicely seasoned and coarsely ground to give a delicious patty, accompanied with cheese, bacon and red onion pickle. I found the bun quite limp and lack lustre, perhaps a lightly toasted brioche bap would work better. The skinny fries were an upmarket version of the McDonalds variety and sadly were way over salted for me.
The puddings on offer are big and bold, from Apple tart with brandy snaps, to Prince Alfred’s take on an Eton Mess. I couldn’t resist trying the Grilled Pineapple with nougat glace and raspberry coulis, which wasn’t the prettiest of desserts but tasted delicious – tart, caramelised fruit with a nutty sweet glace. Sticky toffee pudding with vanilla bean ice cream and salted caramel sauce was a hit with my guest. The classic dessert was light but indulgent with a contrasting creamy vanilla ice cream.
After a long walk round the Venice canals on a crisp Sunday morning, a hearty roast at The Prince Alfred pub would be a comforting reward. The locals are very lucky to have such a beautiful British pub on their doorstep.
More information on The Prince Alfred here.