“ 13 Brook Green, Brook Green, London W6 7BL. Tel:0207 603 3174 „
The Queen's Head is a pub in Hammersmith, West London, tucked away in a small residential area known as Brook Green. The pub is situated on the green itself at the Shepherd's Bush Road end of the green, opposite the tennis courts for point of reference. Access is good through wither a 10 minute walk from either Hammersmith or Shepherd's Bush station or any of the number of buses that travel up Shepherd's Bush Road. The street itself is fairly quiet and the pub seems like a local, residential pub. It is unassuming and ordinary looking from the outside but within it is cavernous and full of oldy worldy pub charm. It is dimly lit by candle light and a crackling fire in the winter but don't discount it as a winter only pub. At the back they have an equally large beer garden which is again elegantly decorated and a fantastic leafy back yard location for a summer Pimms and lemonade.
The pub would not seem out of place in any village across southern England and as such it is assumed it would be independently run. Alas not. As is the case with most London pubs it is chain owned (Fullers in this case) but thankfully does not feel as though it is. Service on the few occasions I have been has always been very friendly, helpful and polite. The drinks range doesn't stray far beyond your standard pub with a good range of a handful of ales & lagers and good selection of wines and spirits. For those from out of town, it is a little pricey but what London pub isn't these days? Pints of lager at £3.20 + has unfortunately become commonplace so we can't really criticise here.
Food is also of a good quality if rarely straying from pub grub and the usual burger or fish pie, the latter of which is highly recommended. So too are the chips here which are some of the best pub chips around.
The general ambiance is low key and never really gets that lively, even on a weekend. I'm not sure they even have music there but I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't. It is also family friendly so children are welcome.
Although I would not suggest making a special trip here it is well worth a visit if in the area and given it's ambiance is something of a rarity in a London pub.
Finding somewhere for a pub meal in London that is cheap, good and not too noisy is never that easy, especially for someone like me who doesn't eat out all that often. Thankfully, I have friends who do like to eat out and I was happy to take up their suggestion of the Queen's Head, Brook Green in Hammersmith. It certainly isn't cheap, especially compared to pub meals in other parts of the country, but it is still better value than a lot of London restaurants - and the portions are huge to boot.
13 Brook Green
London W6 7BL
Tel. 0207 603 3174
Olympia, Earl's Court and Shepherd's Bush tube stations are nearby, although we accessed it by car. Thankfully, because the area is largely residential, parking wasn't a major problem. The pub is opposite a green, including tennis courts and a children's play area, so extra parking spaces have been added in. We were there on a Sunday, but I imagine it would be busier in the week.
The pub is incredibly picturesque. It is a stand-alone building, apparently built in 1820, nicely decorated outside with plants and flowers. The yellow stone-work fits in beautifully with the rest of the buildings around the green, and it has a real villagey feel to it - it's hard to believe you're in the middle of a capital city.
On entering the pub, it appears to be quite narrow, with the bar in the middle and places to sit either side. However, it goes way back and can actually sit about 160 people inside. There is also a lovely garden out the back which can sit another 200 people. However, as the weather wasn't too good on the day we went, we stuck to the inside, managing to easily find a table for our party of 10.
The decor is like any other public house of its age - lots of wood and beams and real fires, but nothing out of the ordinary. It was very clean though, with quite a few nooks and crannies - our party of ten was in its own little corner with few places to sit nearby - just as well, as we had two children with us.
For a pub menu, there was plenty of choice, including a wide range of sandwiches and baguettes for those just wanting a 'snack'. Popular choices in our group included fish pie, fishcakes, chilli con carne, gammon and baked salmon. I chose the beefburger, which included onion rings, as well as cheese and bacon for an extra £1.20. It came with massive chips, which were absolutely divine, as well as a fresh salad of leaves and tomatoes, and a lovely tomato salsa. The beefburger was very nice and the salsa complimented it perfectly. My only complaint was that there was just too much - I was hungry, but struggled to finish it all and had to leave a little bit in the end.
Everyone else was happy with their food, although those without chips (the fish pie for example) were slightly put out, just because they were so delicious - wonderfully crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. A couple of people ordered extra bowls of chips though, so everyone go their share in the end. The children had children's portions of something and chips - again though, the portions were large and they didn't manage to finish.
There was also a special menu, which included a roast dinner and salmon. No-one had the roast, so I can't comment on that, but a friend had the salmon, which she enjoyed. Unfortunately it came with roast potatoes, rather than sauteed, as claimed on the menu, and she found them too greasy. I think they had been made to go with the roast dinner and had been standing around for a while.
Well, it is a pub, so pretty much anything is available. Draft beers included Carling and Kronenbourg and there was a selection of special ales, including Organic Honeydew, London Pride and Fullers Discovery. I drank Kopparberg Pear Cider and another in the group had a Pimm's complete with all the fruit; most of the others were sensible and stuck to orange juice.
The service was typical London-style - okay, but not brilliant. The bar staff weren't quite attentive enough for my liking - I had to break into their conversation to order anything. However, one of them then helped me carry drinks over to our table, so I was slightly appeased. And someone did come over to take our food orders rather than us having to go up to the bar. When my friend complained about her roast potatoes though, there was little reaction - the girl looked at her as if to say, 'So what do you want me to do about it?'. We let it go because it was a minor complaint when the food was generally very good, but an apology or offer to reduce the bill would have been appreciated.
The toilets were immaculate and obviously recently refurbished, so no problems there. There is also a disabled toilet, and disabled access in general was excellent for once. There is a smoking area outside under a canopy.
The pub is very family friendly - I saw a number of people with children outside of our group and there is a play area immediately opposite for when they get bored. Children are not allowed after 8pm though.
Like anywhere in London, prices are high compared to the rest of the country. The sandwiches were around £6 and most meals were £8-9. Coming from the Midlands, I found the cost of drinks very high - my bottle (okay, bottles!) of Kopparberg cider were over £4 each, which I thought was outrageous.
On the whole, this was a pleasant meal in lovely surroundings and for London, was very cosy with a rural feel. Had the weather been a little nicer, it would have made a lovely day out. And although I thought it was a little expensive for a pub, the portions of food were very generous. I will probably return next time I'm in the area, but I wouldn't make a special trip - three and a half stars out of five.