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Jul 8, 2010 04:54 AM

Hampton Court - suggestions?

Spending the afternoon at the flower show this weekend so was after somewhere nice for a quick drink and bite beforehand. Decent pub with a garden would be ideal. We'll be driving from south London, so Walton might be an option too.

Any thoughts?


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  1. We ate at a large pub about 10 minutes from Hampton Court, but I wouldn't recommend it. It was stodgy and the food was only so-so. It won't matter that I can't remember the name! Your best bet might be something in Esher, a rather posh town with quite a few pubs and restaurants but I have only been to a few and that was for dinner. This part of Surrey seems a bit sparse when it comes to good pub food.

    I haven't been to the following, but it looks a bit charming.

    No doubt that entire area will be very crowed because of the show, so perhaps somewhere a few miles away would be easier to deal with. There are always the Korean places in New Malden.. right off the A3.

    2 Replies
    1. re: zuriga1

      Kings Arms at Hampton Court Hotel is a very nice pub with quite decent food. It's where we usually end up after a visit to the Palace.

      1. re: Joan Kureczka

        Thanks, Joan. There seem to be a lot more choices in that area than I ever realized!

    2. There's a nice pub by the river in Thames Ditton called The Albany though I'd recommend booking. It's in the direction of Esher.

      Heading the other way from Hampton Court i.e. towards Kingston is a decent Italian called Caffe la Fiamma (opposite the place Zuriga recommends). I think they might have some kind of terrace.

      Along the river (north side) towards Hampton is a cute little pub called The Bell, they've recently changed hands and have a new menu, which I've heard is quite good. Also has a garden.

      There's a pub and restaurant (The Mitre) directly opposite Hampton Court that will probably be packed, which is a very good reason to avoid it as I went to a big dinner there for about 50 people and it was terrible. Instead of serving each table of 8 then moving on to the next one, they served all the chicken first across all 6 tables, then all the fish, then all the risotto etc, so all the chickens were cold by the time all the rest had finally been served. Awful.

      4 Replies
        1. re: gembellina

          Thanks! I will remember about The Albany and the Italian place. We are often in that area.

          1. re: zuriga1

            Well, in the end we stopped at Ye Old Swan just before the turning for the Albany as it's a picture perfect beamed pub by the river and we could spy empty tables. It really is very pretty, on a small off shoot of the Thames, opposite a little island, with the aforementioned swans a plenty and we even saw someone land what looked to be a was meh, but that's not what you're paying for, and there was a sign saying there were new owners and they're closing for 6 weeks for a refurbishment and menu overhaul...

            On the way back we went to Sorabol, a Korean in New Malden. Absolutely fantastic - lovely staff, perfect mixed kimchi and a glorious mung bean souffle pancake, studded with fresh chilli. We overdid it on the barbecue (which comes with free namul though we had to pay £2.50 for some lettuce leaves!!) - bulgogi, kalbi and a spiced pork. All lovely, but we were groaning by that point, so took the dolsot bimimbap as take away. I can vouch for the fact that it makes a very peppy breakfast reheated the next day ;)

            1. re: helen b

              You had a good day! I'll keep the Old Swan on my list for when they refurb. We often walk along the river near there, so it would be a good spot to stop for a meal.

              Sorabol is my favourite in New Malden. I'm so glad you liked it. Last outing, they were packed tight with a party, and we couldn't get in, and I was so disappointed. I love their barbecue and seafood pancake - but everything there seems well prepared and oh, so tasty. I'm beginning to feel lucky to live way down here. :-)

        2. We made it to The Bell Inn last weekend. It's not worth a thread of its own. I got the feeling that the real chef was off that night, or at least I hope so. My rice was undercooked and hard, and my husband's pasta (under some swordfish) was much too oily and swimming in sauce. My lamb shish kebob was fine and the meat was tender and delicious.

          Too many flies attracted by my beauty and the food swarmed are outdoor table, so we had to flee for the inside dining area. Hamburgers at an adjoining table looked huge and very nice, but as for the taste... who knows.

          The best thing was the apple and pear crumble with custard. It was probably the most delicious crumble I've ever eaten!!

          15 Replies
          1. re: zuriga1

            I think "fine for Hampton" would be an apt description. My parents sometimes go for a quick dinner if my mum doesn't want to cook and they don't want to drive anywhere. Not a destination in itself, but mostly decent if you're in the area anyway.

            1. re: gembellina

              The menu is very nice, and the service was good, too. Obviously, you know the area a lot better than I do. Is the Kings Arms about the same... better? Anything you like a lot in Esher?

              1. re: zuriga1

                Haven't been to the Kings Arms, it always struck me as being a bit touristy but I'm willing to be corrected.

                My parents are based near Hampton Court and they/we tend to head towards Teddington rather than across the river to Easher - in fact the last meal I had in Esher was at The Good Earth, which was nice but hardly worth mentioning on here!

                Plenty of recs in that area if you're able to travel:
                Teddington has Retro, a brilliant French place by the team from Monsieur Max (minus Max himself); Scarpetta, an Italian which gets good reports; The Wharf, which I suppose is British bar/restaurant food well-executed and with nice views of the river. I think it might be quite expensive, and it certainly gets quite noisy.

                Hampton Wick has a spectacularly good Thai (for Hampton - I'm going to 101 Thai Kitchen on Thurs so I can compare!), I think it might be called Simply Thai.

                Twickenham has a good Indian called Sheesh Mahal, has the usual curry house favourites but lots more besides, though it can be a little slow. Arthur's on the green is lovely. The food is perfectly nice but I think it's more about the location.

                French Table in Surbiton. Hard to get a table after they were on the Gordon Ramsey thing (along with retro and simply thai, iirc).

                And then you're pretty much in New Malden which is familiar territory on this board I think!

                1. re: zuriga1

                  oh and how could I forget Shambles in Teddington? Italian, run by an ex-Locanda Locatelli and Zafferano chef and his family. My favourite place in the area. Probably the only restaurant in Teddington serving brains!

                  1. re: gembellina

                    Thanks for all the suggestions. I love Thai and there's nothing very good over near L'Head where we are. A new one opened, but it wasn't worth a repeat visit. Shambles sounds great!

                    I first wrote here about The French Table a few years ago. We loved it until one night we had a bad experience. I'm sure the chef wasn't there that evening, so I forgave them. It's always been tough to get a table, so we haven't been back for awhile.

                    Yes, we go to New Malden every once in awhile... short trip up the A3 and worth the drive.

                    1. re: zuriga1

                      Prince Albert pub in Twickers by the green is our regular thai and the closest of the brilliant Addies / Latymers / Churchill group. Consistently delicious, fresh and reliable food - had a ghastly, stale papaya salad at 101 the other week (Addies has the biggest menu of the group, the pubs generally sticking to the basics).

                      Also big fans of Tangawizi by Richmond bridge, enjoyed the Sicilian meal we had at Adesso on Richmond hill at the weekend, and there's a good gastro in East Putney at the Prince of Wales, sister to the Bull and Last.

                        1. re: kidtofu

                          Tangawizi is pretty good, if not spectacular. Hate the room with a vengeance, though. You need one of those miners lamps to see what you're eating. I kid you not. Used to hold a Michelin Bib Gourmand but has lost it as not cheap enough to meet the criteria.

                          1. re: Harters

                            I agree with the above. The owners are lovely, service is very good and the food is nice, rich, high-end fare. It's an easier option than Indian Zing for anyone living round these parts.

                            Keeping this thread alive, I remember wanting to visit Simply Thai after the TV drama, but I recall a bunch of reviews claiming they were completely unable to meet demand and the place was chaos...any recent visitors please spill!

                            1. re: kidtofu

                              When I was there in Febuary, I passed what looked like a decent (and very busy) Italian only a few doors away, towards Richmond Bridge. Can't recall its name (although a glance at the Good Food Guide suggests it must have been "A Cena") but wonder if it's worth me having a try next time I'm "dahn sarf"?

                              1. re: Harters

                                Next time you do come sarf, let me know. A good friend of mine lives in Richmond (has for years) and probably knows a few good spots... maybe A Cena etc.

                                1. re: zuriga1

                                  Will do, June.

                                  I normally stay in Brentford (as it's cheaper - and just as easy to get to the National Archives) but feel I've "done to death" the decent places that I know around there, Kew & Richmond.

                          2. re: kidtofu

                            My papaya salad at 101 Thai was stale as well. Glad to know I'm not the only one who had a less-than-stellar experience there.

                            1. re: greedygirl

                              oh no, I've been really looking forward to it!

                              maybe i'll just avoid the papaya salad.

                              1. re: gembellina

                                yeah, that place never really works for me but the fish is always good.

                                thankfully had a lovely version at Addies the other day to make up for it (fwiw the papaya salad at Rosas thai @ spitalfields was truly awesome and blisteringly hot).