Historical version 8 of Earl Spencer, SW18 5JL
- 020 8870 9244
- 260-262 Merton Road, SW18 5JL
- 11am-11pm Mon-Thu; 11am-midnight Fri; 11am-11pm Sat; noon-10:30pm Sun
Gastropub in Southfields.
Inside is one large room with cream walls, dark blue paintwork, and mismatched unvarnished tables and upright chairs. There's some seating on the front patio area — picnic benches sheltered by umbrellas — and a bookable function room upstairs.
Kake visited on a Thursday early evening in August 2009. Three of the four handpumps were on, offering Sharp's Doom Bar (£1.70/half), London Pride, and Hook Norton Best Bitter. I had two halves of Doom Bar; the first was served in a Fosters glass and the second in a Becks Vier glass.
Food is served lunchtimes and evenings only, but they also have a bar snack menu available between noon and 6:30pm; choices included Scotch egg (£3), deep fried whitebait with pickled egg mayonnaise (£4.5), and Welsh rarebit (£4.50).
I decided to try the Scotch egg, after checking with the bar staff whether it was a bog-standard hardboiled one, or one of the runny yolk ones that the gastropubs are starting to do these days. It turned out to be roughly the sort of thing I was hoping for, though the yolk was soft-boiled rather than runny (and despite this they managed to slightly undercook the white), and although the sausagemeat was coarsely-ground (a good thing) and far from the usual grey mush, this was somewhat counterbalanced by the couple of pieces of gristle and small piece of bone I found in it. This came with some decent enough mustard and a few lightly dressed (and very likely from a bag) salad leaves. Summary: a commendable effort, not quite perfection.
Service was fine. There was no music playing (the 2009 Good Beer Guide states that this is a deliberate policy). It didn't really feel like a gastropub when I arrived around 5:30pm, partly because of the clientele and partly because to me the decor looks more like a tatty locals' pub than a shabby-chic gastropub; in fact I'd assumed it was the former until I looked it up on my phone and saw it listed as a gastropub.
Accessibility: There's a ramp at the front which might provide step-free access, but I didn't notice it until I was leaving. The entrance I used had two steps. It's level to the bar, seating area, and toilets once you're in.