GE has been keeping an eye, in a lazy, social media way, on the reinvention of the Grosvenor Arms on Garratt Lane. Formerly best known by my flatmates and me for its blackboard offering 'Live karaoke with Bob and Maureen', the pub had never been one of our regular haunts.
So it was a real pleasure to be invited along to a double whammy of good stuff last week - the new Grosvenor Arms hosting culinary hotshots the Pickled Fork.
The pub has been renovated in a Victorian style but with modern touches like the snazzy lighting over the bar. There's a pool room out the back and a mixture of bar and lounge space elsewhere. You can check out photos of the new spaces on their website.
The Pickled Fork, meanwhile, will be familiar to some of you from their pop up evenings elsewhere in the neighbourhood, with a modern take on using local ingredients. Chef Alex is now taking advantage of the private dining space upstairs at the Grosvenor Arms to showcase his talents.
After a welcome drink at the bar, accompanied by live jazz, we were whisked upstairs to make a start on Alex's spring menu. We started with a parmesan and onion bread and seaweed butter - this disappeared quickly as the 8pm start had left us very ready to eat.*
The bread was followed swiftly by a pair of asparagus spears with a smoked sheep's milk cheese, raw pea and Jersey Royal and a vinaigrette. It was a delicious mouthful of spring.
I confess to being slightly nervous about the next course of barbecued octopus - I've not always had good experiences with octopus before, but this was in a different league. Soft and meaty, it was accompanied by broad bean hummus, 'nduja, pickled chicory and dukkha.
Plates clean, it was on to the night's meat course of pulled lamb's belly in a fermented spelt pita with spelt tabbouleh and roast garlic yoghurt. I have to hold my hand up here - tasty as it was, the pre-dinner snack had caught up with me and I had to offer up some of it to my husband to finish. This proved no problem at all...
Everyone knows there's a separate dessert stomach and mine was ready and waiting for the final course. As a Kiwi I am a harsh judge of pavlovas so I'm pleased to be able to report that tonight's effort met the bar. Again, it was a very spring-flavoured dish, with strawberries and elderflower featuring, but was perhaps a little less ambitious than some of the other dishes. Still, there was no complaining from our table and plates were scraped clean.
We were treated to more jazz throughout the meal and tried a glass from the short but well-chosen wine list (I'm no expert but there were plenty of options I would have been happy with).
Full and happy, we made our way home again, very pleased to have finally made it to the Grosvenor Arms at last.
The Pickled Fork is hosting further pop ups in June, July, August and September.
The Grosvenor Arms can host private parties of sizes from 65-120 in its first floor function room.
*Disclaimer: we might have nibbled a sneaky flatbread in the Jolly Gardener's beforehand...
Go Earlsfield dined as a guest of the Pickled Fork and Grosvenor Arms.