A superb option in Vauxhall, The Black Prince has benefited greatly from a takeover by new management and a whole new focus on good food and ales.
The Black Prince sits in an up and coming corner of South London, where swanky new flats are springing up out of nowhere and gorgeous Georgian houses are finally getting some long awaited attention. Given the name there are no prizes for guessing why they choose black paint to spruce up the exterior. Once inside, the regal theme continues: rich red wallpaper, brushed brass lamp fittings and polished dark wood panels contribute to the Victoriana design. The hub is the bar itself: large, sturdy and grounding, it represents the strong philosophy of The Black Prince, because like the bar, everything about it is sound. Despite the choice of dark colours, inside and out, the bar is surprisingly airy and comfortably spacious. There’s a private pebbled garden, with high walls adorned in thick ivy and plants in tubs, which make for a very romantic dining experience on a warm summer evening. Larger parties are free to congregate around old pub benches, on the street at the entrance to The Black Prince.
During the summer months they bring out the barbeque on Friday and Saturday evenings, and in the winter, they throw a few more logs on the fire. There is a flat screen at one end of the bar which shows sports events, but those who don’t like their footie shouldn’t be put off, as this venue in no way resembles one of the larger chain bars that rely simply on the big games to pull in the punters. Everyone is welcome at The Black Prince and the homely feel is enhanced by a selection of good ales and a blackboard with the desserts of the day listed on it.
It is always a pleasure to be greeted by a friendly face when you walk into any bar and The Black Prince is certainly full of friendly faces. Appealing to a more sophisticated crowd, the management have done well to distance themselves from a traditional old man’s boozer. The bar staff are welcoming and upbeat, while the service is excellent.
Quality, homemade and tasty are all words that ring true of the menu at The Black Prince. Furthermore the prices are as comfortable as your mum’s sofa at home, so everyone’s a winner. Starters range from £4-£7 and main courses start at £7.95. The lunch menu offers lighter bites such as baguettes, sandwiches and salads. A highlight of which is an exquisite pressed ham and spinach terrine, served with home baked bread and a parsnip puree.
The evening menu is a somewhat heartier affair. Starters include traditional potted shrimps (£6.95) that take your palette on a trip to the British seaside, whilst a pea and spring vegetable soup with baguette (£4.95) more than satisfies. A delicate salad of spinach, asparagus and broad beans (£6.55) is served in a deep dish with croutons saturated in olive oil and it leaves your taste buds begging for more.
For your main course, a 21-day aged rib eye steak (£12.50) cooked to your taste, with a silky bearnaise sauce and a hefty portion of golden crisp chips, is a firm favourite, as is fish cooked in a light beer batter (£8.95), accompanied by a small helping of mushy peas and a deliciously tangy tartare sauce. Confit of duck or ravioli of garden peas and mint are just a couple of the other dishes you can expect to find on the evening menu at The Black Prince.
Overall the portions are generous, but if by this point you have enough space to squeeze in a dessert, you can choose a dessert of the day from the blackboard. All of the puds cost £4.50 and contain indulgent options like the macerated ruby red strawberries with a glorious tart and creamy sabayon dipping sauce: the perfect sweet treat and fab with a glass of Oliver and Gregs Cavabrut served by the glass at £5.95. For those closet comfort eaters amongst us, get barmy on oven baked banana custard or cosy with a chocolate pot.
Any pub worth its salt has to offer at least a couple of choice ales on tap. The Black Prince is stocked with Youngs, Deuchars IPA, Bombardier, and also features a ‘guest ale’ that changes regularly, all of which fall around the £3.30 a pint mark.
The wine list is varied and considered, with a selection of fruity or dry whites. Anyone who has not tasted a white Rioja should take this opportunity to do so as the crisp taste complements the vegetarian and salad options on the menu beautifully. A bottle of Monte Clavijo white Rioja will set you back £15.95, while the house white is a Chilean San Rafael Sauvignon Blanc (£12.95). If it’s a large hunk of meat you are tucking into for your main course, go cheap and cheerful with the easy-going Spanish house red El Muro Tinto (£12.95). Italian Rose and a selection of champagnes are on standby should you want to celebrate; toast a special occasion over a bottle of Moet for £38.00.
The Last Word
The Black Prince holds its own against the leading gastro pubs in the Lambeth/Kennington area, scoring high on price, quality and presentation. One thing is for sure, you won’t be disappointed.