Tucked away in the fancy residential folds between Fulham and Chelsea, this pub blends cute and cosy country-style hospitality with contemporary chic and high-class vibes.
This pub and restaurant is small and super-swanky, with a scattering of small wooden tables in the front bar area welcoming among black and white photographs and giant, decorated chalkboards. Beyond the bar, a separate restaurant area makes for fancier surroundings and candle-lit dining. There's not a lot of room inside, and a busy evening can begin to feel a bit cramped, with staff struggling to squeeze between guests and their canine friends. However, outside, guests can relax on picnic benches in the sun, or snuggle under heaters when the chilly season sets in.
While it's not exactly lacking in atmosphere, it's hard to put a finger on exactly what this bar does bring to the table. The team are incredibly friendly, greeting everyone on arrival and helping guests find themselves a seat, while there's space at the bar, wooden furniture, and a warm welcome for dogs too. Neither drinks nor dining come in cheap here, and it's busy with the ritzy clientele that you'd expect of the area. A lack of soft furnishings can make everything feel a bit echoey, and any music is easily drowned out by booming chatter. However as a bustling spot to enjoy a bottle between friends, the atmosphere is friendly and the service is nice and slick too.
A gastro pub to its core, The Sands End offers a menu of elegant and carefully crafted food in its restaurant area, with mains ranging from £12.50 to £21. This is not your average pub grub. From foie gras starters to a £7 Eton mess, it's fine dining rather than hearty hangover food. However, for a more casual affair, the bar showcases a range of bar snacks, too. The team are proud of their 'famous' Scotch eggs, and rightly so. The huge snacks – we're talking plus-size tennis balls – are whisked upstairs to be heated, quartered and sprinkled with black pepper, appearing again with gooey yolk oozing over warm, spiced sausage meat, while the breadcrumbs are pleasantly salty and just the right level of crispiness. While neither menu offers much choice for a vegetarian diner, those who enjoy a bit of meat can benefit from themed months of food, where the kitchen could be stocked with pheasant and grouse for the season. Of course, there's also a sweetie jar stuffed with Bonios for the most discerning of visiting pups.
The house red here is something quite delicious; full bodied, deep in colour, thick, dry and oaky. Weighing in a £4.70 for a small and £6.60 for a large, tipples are a little dearer than average, even for Fulham. However, the bonus is that they come in extra-large glasses, making the drinker feel somewhat special and a little bit sophisticated, and causing pinkies to outstretch with a will of their own. IPA is more of a standard investment at £3.60 per pint, and visiting ales, lagers and fancier wines are up for grabs, too – including a ‘wine of the week’ with foodie suggestions to match. There’s no masquerading as a cocktail bar, but there are Bloody Marys available for Sunday brunching, plus other cocktails for cheeky girls' nights and the like. Meanwhile, the standard array of spirits and mixers will keep most drinkers happy and evenings bubbling along nicely.
The Last Word
This is undoubtedly a very nice pub, bar and restaurant all rolled into one, but 'very nice' is about all the description it manages to muster. The atmosphere is pleasant, but it misses the cosy country pub image that it's aiming for, and the cuisine is certainly more central London than countryside chic. However, that's not to say that it’s a bad spot for a Friday night, Sunday brunch, weekday, or any day of the week, for that matter. This is somewhere that you could easily bring your visiting family, other half or best buddies. It’s well-maintained and flawlessly clean, even if it is at the expense of a little cosiness. It's also fully booked and bustling, while still maintaining great service and plenty of friendliness. At the end of the day, there’s a good glass of wine to be had here, and you can't ask for much more than that, can you?