A pub with Michelin connections (it’s co-owned by Claude Bosi of Hibiscus fame), situated close to a pub with a Michelin star (the ever-popular Harwood Arms), The Malt House seems less concerned with chasing stars of its own and more geared towards keeping locals happy with a meaty selection of British pub grub. No bad thing.
A handsome building nestled seconds away from Fulham Broadway, The Malt House has a clean and spacious interior with spotless white and pale green walls, a long bar area and a clear focus on dining throughout. Upstairs, there are several well-appointed bedrooms for guests who are in town for the night or don’t fancy the journey home.
Young professionals with cut-glass accents ‘yah’ their way through their dinner and larger groups of suited guys gather around the bar. Couples are particularly at home here. There’s no music playing in the background so it can feel a little quiet before the place fills up. Service is amiable, however one or two members of staff are not quite as on the ball as others.
Considering the starry connections of the owner and the chef, Marcus McGuiness (formerly of Hibiscus, also), there’s a refreshing lack of faff involved in eating here. The Malt House burger (£14.50) is undoubtedly the most popular dish, shimmying its way almost constantly from the blindingly bright kitchen pass.
If you’re exploring options beyond the stodgy mains, choices like the warm beetroot with shavings of Berkswell cheese and a creamy buttermilk sauce (£7.50) or the Devonshire brown crab served with button mushrooms and port (£13.50) are both highly enjoyable dishes, well prepared and full of flavour.
Prices for mains start from around £12, but there are lots more weighted at the top end including a delicious duck dish (£25) served two ways. First, you are presented with a pink-hued, thinly sliced breast complete with caramelised skin, and then the meat from the legs of the duck is mashed down and presented in a leafy piece of lettuce. A honey and soy glaze provides a wonderfully indulgent sauce for the duck and reinforces the Asian inspiration; however, sides like the triple cooked chips (£4) bump the price up to Hawksmoor levels – a very tricky place to be for a pub.
Rhubarb custard trifle (£7.50) and vanilla ice cream with a chalky crumbled malt topping and sticky salted caramel (£6) conclude a meal that’s hard to find fault with.
Bottles of wine are largely north of £20 a bottle and there’s a rare wines list too. The La Rural Malbec Trumpeter from Argentina (£25) is a silky, rich and robust option from the lower end of the scale. Ringwood is one of the more notable options among the ale pumps and a comprehensive selection of lagers, ciders and champagnes are also available.
The Last Word
The Malt House serves up very good food but its prices put it on par with leading restaurants rather than the majority of pubs, meaning it’s more of a special occasion sort of place than a regular destination for dinner.