Newly refurbished, and with a greater focus on food, the Princess of Wales provides high quality dining in one of London’s most salubrious enclaves.
Situated behind the main Primrose Hill ‘village’ area of Regent's Park Road, the pub has no shortage of affluent neighbours in its catchment. The competition is fierce, with the Lansdowne and the Prince Albert both a stone’s throw away, and the exterior of the Princess of Wales could lead one to the incorrect conclusion that the pub lacks quality. Thankfully, the interior is a more tasteful affair, and the area downstairs features a classic layout, with the bar itself at the centre of the room. The decor blends a crisp, bright colour palate with touches of boho-chic. The upstairs dining room is airy and cheerful, and provides an exceptional spot to bask in the evening light.
The Princess of Wales has a vibrant and upbeat feel to it. This can mainly be attributed to the staff, who are warm and hospitable, and clearly enjoy what they do. London could do with more bar folk who make the effort to greet and serve their patrons with the same enthusiasm. The music makes generous concessions to classic pop, which is no bad thing in itself, but a little more variety wouldn’t go astray. The pub’s new emphasis on high quality dining is not being implemented to the exclusion of those who just fancy a pint, and the crowd itself is delightfully mixed.
There is clearly something great happening in the kitchen, as the food is absolutely delectable. For starters, try the Welsh rarebit (£5) with its piquant onion jam, or the butternut squash and goat’s cheese salad (£6.95), which contains the creamiest chevre you will taste on this side of the channel.
For mains, Bath pig chorizo and Berkwell cheese pizza (£9) is served on a delicate, crispy base and finely executed. The real highlight is the char-grilled spring lamb with roast garlic and salsa verde (£13.50). The lamb is scented with mint, seasoned in perfect balance and rendered exquisite with the sweet tones of a whole-roasted garlic bulb.
Beer and ale aficionados are quite well served, but the real triumphs are on the wine list. The J. Fernando Tempranillo/Cab Sauv is a steal at £15, and a perfect accompaniment to red meat. The effort to deliver high quality at reasonable prices extends from the food right through the libations.
The Last Word
Ignore the slightly gaudy exterior, and treat yourself to an epicurean delight at very ordinary prices.