The Kings Head offers authentic Italian food alongside traditional British-pub drinks with numerous live music events in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. It might sound like an odd match, but it works.
Taking up an entire corner, you won’t miss this venue as you begin walking up Acton’s High Street. Although imposing, the exterior is lightly coloured with large windows to all sides, making it very inviting as you’re on your way past. Through the doors you’ll find a large open space, with plenty of seating - from more formal dining tables and chairs to temptingly comfortable sofas. There are also some more secluded booths to the right. A stage is a prominent feature of the room – expect weekly live music events – and the bar is in view as soon as you arrive. An outside terrace to the rear provides a small but pleasant place for a cigarette or a breath of fresh air and there’s a huge function room upstairs that can be booked out for private events with a buffet or full menus provided.
Light wood and high ceilings really help the pub to feel open and airy, without being cold. This pub has recently been completely renovated and the owners have plenty more ideas to continue improving in the future. Early evenings see locals enjoying a pint or two and, later on, it gets busier. A big push on their live music and the increasingly popular pub quiz draws in the punters from near and far. Staff are incredibly friendly and happy to chat you through the menu and recommend a bottle or beer should you ask. The whole pub has a friendly, relaxed atmosphere and you’ll feel welcome from the moment you arrive.
With one Italian and one Sicilian chef, it’s not surprising that pizza, pasta and steak prevails here. A daily list of specials highlights the freshest produce, often sourced from local markets, and this is incorporated into the main menu, too. The selection of vegetables ‘Sicilian style’ (£7.50) is a generous dish of grilled aubergine and courgette marinated in garlic, olive oil and chilli, oven-baked courgette stuffed with seasoned breadcrumbs and huge slabs of garlic bread – ideal for sharing. Other starters include traditional antipasto (£6) and, of course, mixed olives (£2.50) and garlic bread (£3).
Mains continue the Mediterranean theme; the calamari ripieni alle erbe (£12) is like an inside-out version of this long-term favourite dish, with seasoned breadcrumbs and herbs stuffed within the calamari, rather than coating the outside of the fresh-tasting, well-cooked fish. With plenty to choose from, you could deliberate over your pizza order for hours, but the sarda (£6.50) comes highly recommended by the owner – it’s topped with spicy Italian salami. All the pizzas are truly authentic - with a generous dose of garlic and thin and crispy bases, they are more like those you would actually eat in Rome or Venice than those from the British pizza chains. The calzone (£7.50) is one for big appetites, filled with salami, mushrooms and mozzarella. The pizzas are truly enormous, so it’s no wonder there’s one sole dessert – another Italian favourite, tiramisu (£3.50).
Despite the Italian menu, this is still a British pub and you can expect all your usual lagers, ales and spirits. House wine starts at just £13.50 a bottle, and pints are very reasonable, ranging from £3.15 to £3.60.
The Last Word
Mid-way through a long-term refurbishment and with plenty of plans to continue improving, it’s certainly worth dropping into The King’s Head for a drink and a meal, and it is definitely one to watch for the future.