Star Tavern, SW1X 8HT
- 020 7235 3019
- 6 Belgrave Mews West, SW1X 8HT
- 11am-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-10:30pm Sun
Fuller's pub in Belgravia, a long-standing entry in the Good Beer Guide.
Kake, Bob, Martin, elvum, Richard, Robbie, and the rest of the collective have been coming here for years. It used to be a truly great pub. Now, the beer is still excellent, but the food is neither as cheap nor as good value as it used to be; though it's still not bad for the area.
Beers available on Kake's August 2008 visit were the usual Fuller's quartet (London Pride, ESB, Discovery, Chiswick) and a guest ale, Ossett Pale Gold (£3.05/pint); both Discovery and Pale Gold were well-kept, as one would expect from this place. They also had a very neon cocktail menu, with nine choices ranging from £4 for a whisky sour to £8 for citrus rum punch (presumably a large serving). Possibly more interestingly, they had a whisky menu, offering twenty whiskies from nine countries, with 25ml measures priced between £2.10 for Armorik (France) and £4.95 for MackMyra Preludium 05 (Sweden) or Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye (USA).
Following the February 2008 refurb, the function room upstairs has been converted into a "dining room"; tables can be booked for dinner, but they no longer accept function bookings. There are separate menus, but food from the dining room menu can be ordered for consumption in the bar. The facilities have also been improved - the gents' are now described by elvum as "spacious", and while the ladies' toilets are still quite cramped, they're at least a bit smarter than they used to be.
The pub part always used to be quite full till about 9pm most nights; not sure yet if the new dining room has affected this. On John's Friday afternoon visit in July 2008, it was pretty much empty at 4pm (fewer than 10 customers), although it was a bit busier by 6pm; on a second July 2008 visit on a particularly warm Thursday evening, it was very busy at 6:30pm, but by 7pm there were a few empty tables and by 9pm it was pretty quiet. Kake also visited on a Friday afternoon, in August 2008, and it was pretty much as John says. There's no TV and no piped music, which makes it a good place to actually talk to people.
As of August 2008, the food situation is thus: the Fuller's website says food is served Monday to Friday, noon-4pm and 5pm-9pm (and this is backed up by a lunch menu examined by Kake). According to a staff member, the evening menu and lunch menu are very similar but differ in a few respects.
The quality and value of the food has varied quite a lot over the last couple of years. bob, Martin, elvum, Richard, Jacob and Hannah tried the food in October 2007. The general consensus was that the steak was small, overcooked, and generally worth closer to £6-7 than the £14 that it cost. elvum commented that approximately 4oz of steak for £14 is not a good deal. bob also wished the pie heresy (puff pastry on top of a bowl of stew) to be noted.
The lunch menu as of August 2008 had sandwiches between £4.60 (mature Cheddar and Branston pickle) and £5.90 (rib eye steak with fried onions); filled jacket potatoes between £4.90 (e.g. mature Cheddar and baked beans) and £5.50 (cured salmon with dill creme fraiche); ploughmans between £5.50 (e.g. pork pie and wholegrain mustard) and £6.50 (cured salmon again); and mains between £7.30 (mushroom, spinach, and goat cheese frittata) and £11.50 (chargrilled rib eye with handcut chips and mixed salad). Aside from the aforementioned frittata, the other main course vegetarian options was glamorgan sausages (£7.90), served with either "mustard mash, slow cooked peas, and red wine gravy", or handcut chips and beans. Desserts were £3.70 (lemon tart with passion fruit coulis) to £4.20 (e.g. caramelised pineapple and mango skewers with raspberry and mint sorbet).
Accessibility: Belgrave Mews West is cobbled throughout, with no smooth surfaces. There are two or three steps up into the pub. The gents' is on the same level as the rest of the pub, but the ladies' involves several steps.
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GPS data collected by Kake on a Garmin eTrex, 12 April 2007, and released into the public domain: OSGB 528113, 179347