"The quintessential English gastropub..."Review Rating: Reviewed by Laurel
Wimbledon Common’s Fox & Grapes couldn’t be more quintessential English gastropub if it tried. The building would have undoubtedly been through many guises given it’s been there since 1787, but since being renovated by the Jolly Fine Pub Group in 2011, The Fox & Grapes offers modern English menus of classic favourites with a twist, legendary Sunday lunches and three luxurious bedrooms if the prospect of waddling home after supper proves just too much.
After a relatively chilly Sunday recently the lure of a cosy pub was just too much and we retired for lunch. The place was certainly buzzing; packed to the rafters with families ruddy-faced and muddy from rambles on the common and with almost as many dogs, it was something of a squeeze and the table we were seated at, essentially in the walkway between the two rooms and precariously close to at the throng of the action, meant my seat was brushed and bashed by human and hound on more than one or two occasions. Ever so slightly annoying.
Nevertheless, presented with a menu of roasts and winter warmers I started my meal with a deliciously comforting bowl of sweet potato and ginger soup, topped with sunflower seeds and a blob of herby cream cheese. Given that I had the beginnings of yet another winter cold the warming ginger added a much-needed kick (and hopefully immunity boost). The Vietnamese confit duck sassed, with spring onions, cucumbers, cashews, chilli, lime and lemongrass on the other side of the table looked delicious, a plate of colour and crunch which was met with much satisfied lip-licking.
I’ve had some disappointing roasts recently but given the reviews of that at the Fox & Grapes - and the somewhat legendary status - I had high hopes; I needn’t have worried. My plat arrived piled high with roast rump of salt marsh lamb, roasties so crisp you could chip a tooth if you’re not careful, and perfectly crunchy veg, all accompanied with a fantastic Yorkshire pud. The accompanying cauliflower cheese was divine, oozing with gooey deliciousness. As roasts go it was up there with the best of them, the meat so meltingly tender it practically dissolved on touching the tongue.
It’s no secret the food at the Fox & Grapes is superb but if you aren’t a fan of having your Sunday lunch with a side of hustle, bustle and noisy families it might be worth your while to pay a visit on an evening instead.
Laurel reviewed Fox and Grapes on Fri 16 Mar 2018