"The ram lies down on Broadway"All In London Rating: Added Thu 26 Apr 2012 - Reviewed by Matthew B
Fulham is perhaps not high on many people's lists of 'destination' areas in London Town for eating and drinking, so it's a smart move that the newly refurbished Cock Tavern aims to be your ’new local’ in the neighbourhood.
One of the new breed of subtly branded Young's pubs, the traditional pub atmosphere has been replaced with a light, modern feel, with mismatched lights and furniture, book-print wallpaper and the like. Yet where this can often seem overly contrived and a desecration of a pub's former heritage, here it seems to sit relatively easily. A bubble chair hangs from the ceiling in a light and airy space towards the garden at the rear – during our visit a young chap was taking photos of his girlfriend swinging in it doing her best Twiggy look.
We were pleased to see the dart board had been retained, and it is reportedly well used. These are usually the first items for the skip when a pub is refurbished, and it made a welcome change to see one in action.
We chose booth seating along one of the side walls. The booths have working telephones that people of a certain age will recognise from decades ago, which you can actually use to call the bar (or another table) if you are feeling especially lazy. For the purposes of research we tested ours, but the lone barman was a little too busy to chat, alas.
The food menu is mainly geared towards 'grazing plates', around £4 - £6 each, with a smaller selection of mains and dishes to share also available. 'Cock in cyder' (sic) looked interesting, but we opted to try a selection of sharing dishes. 'Half spicy spatchcock chicken' was a tasty bird, and not overpowered by seasoning. 'Sticky bourbon ribs' were good, but not sticky enough for us - we would have liked more of the Maker's Mark and hickory glaze! The 'beef sliders' at £6 for two felt insubstantial meat-wise. Although by nature fit-in-your-palm small, they didn’t feel like great value. Triple cooked chips were executed well, and the 'wee black pudding scotch egg' had a nice yolk consistency and was served with mustard on the gentle insistence of the barman, demonstrating they do care about their food (the menu is not an identikit selection to be found replicated in other Young’s pubs).
My dining companion was a bit bemused by the drinking chocolate granules dusted over his chocolate mousse and the addition of unadvertised coffee flavour, but the homemade shortbread to accompany it was good.
We notched up £40 worth of food for five plates and a dessert each (excluding drinks), which did not seem an excessive amount of food. Small plate menus can sometimes lure you in with a low price per dish and end up resulting in a higher bill than choosing a traditional main. Overall, for decent pub grub the Cock represented reasonable value for money.
One reason this establishment will likely do well is that it has not forgotten the basics of being a pub, that is: decent drinks (our pints of Young's bitter on arrival were nicely kept, and they also offer a signature highball using local gin maker Sipsmith), decent food and a welcoming ambience. With board games, quiz and music nights, and even the offer of keeping your own coffee mug behind the bar, if you live in Fulham or find yourself in the area, the Cock Tavern is a good option.
Official All In London review for Cock Tavern