A rather flushed Mrs Kentishtowner raced upstairs last night with some hot-off-the-press news that Dartmouth Park’s Lord Palmerston was enjoying something of a revival. Furthermore, she said she wanted to investigate NOW.
Dutifully we wrapped up in hats and scarves and headed out in sub-zero temperatures, across the frozen estates of Gospel Oak and down into the valley of Chetwynd Road.
So you can imagine our delight when eventually greeted by the crackle of a roaring wood fire. We couldn’t remember when we last visited: the Lord P seemed to have languished in recent years, high up on its hill (although it was a favourite in the early noughties, with its functional decor, all school desks and chairs).
Now the new management have stolen a tip or two from the nearby, much-loved Southampton – and there’s nothing wrong with that. The dining rooms are warmer and cosier, but the real focus in winter is, of course, the candle-lit, fire-heated bar.
The new menu frolics with comforting fare like the smoothest chicken liver pate with gerkins to start, and to follow, sausages & mash, or a very creamy seafood chowder with bream and mussels. Not that Mrs KT was paying much attention – she was too busy chucking down oysters like it was the night before the Tories finally introduced rationing.
And, really, you could have heard struck her down with a feather when none other than Matt ‘Dr Who’ Smith strode in, coat flapping, as if there was an entire civilization to be saved within the pub’s taupe walls.
Lord Palmerston, 33 Dartmouth Park Hill, starters around £6, Mains £12