"A great place to drop-in with your canine friends for a Pedigree Tea..."Review Rating: Reviewed by KimT
Driving through the West London rugby traffic (Scotland vs England), it took us a while to get to Primrose Hill. There was me and Alfie, my friend Alex and his dog Muffin the Maltese and his friend who doubles as Muffin’s walker and dog behaviourist.
We arrived at the recently refurbished Princess of Wales pub which was pleasantly busy for a Saturday afternoon. There are large traditional windows onto the quiet streets outside and the walls are tastefully decorated in chocolate brown patterns.
As soon as we mentioned that we were booked for the Pedigree Tea, we were whisked over to a table on a slightly raised area where there were two couples with a baby and a further baby escorted by two women. The waitress immediately came over and scooped Alfie up in her arms to give him a hug. They sure like dogs here! Numerous other customers came over to take photos of the dogs and we also chatted to the owner of a somewhat larger dog at the bar.
Swiftly, an American waiter emerged to ask when we would like our (human) tea and whether the dogs wanted their tea served on the table or on the floor. The dogs took priority. Natch. First up was a brightly striped bowl of doggacino which Alfie took to straight away. Muffin, as usual, was somewhat more picky and we had to ask for a bowl of water – which she drank.
Then another large bright bowl arrived bearing two huge (compared to the size of our dogs) bone shaped biscuits and two doggie cup cakes – complete with carob chocolate buttons and a sugary frosting. After a little encouragement feeding with fingers, Alfie took on the cup cake in its entirety. That was one happy dog. The waiter returned without prompting to refill the doggacino bowl.
Meanwhile, we humans were served with our chosen coffee and teas. We each had a sizeable tea pot with a workmanlike white tea and saucer set. Then a three tiered cake stand arrived – with the plates substituted with flattened green bottles – apt for tea in a pub!
The base level contained finger shaped sandwiches (no crusts!) – cucumber, egg and smoked salmon. The middle level offered home-made scones with pots of cream and strawberry jam whilst on the top were rich chocolate brownies, intense treacle tart slices and dreamy-creamy panna cotta shots with a topping of fresh berry compote. We greedily tucked in.
There was a TV screen in the far corner of the bar where some sports were playing. There were numerous couples and groups dotted around the bar. Venturing upstairs, there was a delightfully elegant large high ceilinged room with lots of day light where more people were enjoying the afternoon tea – somewhat quieter without dogs or babies. The loos were up here too and the traditional old square wooden cisterns and seats were a sight to behold.
I also took a peek downstairs. Here there is a more club-like atmosphere – with nice bank seats and sofas as well as tables and chairs. It feels like an underground cellar. On one side there was another TV where an entirely male audience were watching the progress of the England-Scotland rugby match. Picking my way carefully through this crowd – to avoid getting in the way of their TV viewing – I made my way to the garden.
This is an intimate walled area, a substantial part of which is undercover, with around eight large picnic tables. There is a stunning Banksy-like painting of a lion next to a picture of a girl with a heart shaped balloon and all around them on the wall are assorted framed mirrors. With the greenery, it is pretty and gives the impression of more light and space. It’s quite lovely.
I returned to my companions – and a stuffed full Alfie dog – and we decided to make our way home. We stopped at a pet shop on the high street – Primrose Hill Pets www.primrosehillpets.co.uk – where we made a few purchases and were delighted to find those strikingly striped bowls that had been used at the pub.
After a short walk around the park – as it was dusk the pathway lights were just turning on and it looked pretty – we returned to the car to make our way back to West London.
The pub was really nice and it’s sad that we are not more local, the human and dog teas were great (although a little pricey for anything other than a treat) but the staff and other customers made it a truly special occasion.
KimT reviewed The Princess Of Wales on Tue 05 Feb 2013