A quirky, lively pub with an incredible Thai menu and party spirit, The Walmer Castle is close enough to the tube to make it an easy amble home, but far enough from the busy high street and market to retain a calmer vibe.
The Walmer Castle is a small pub deep in the heart of Notting Hill, about a ten minute walk from Notting Hill Gate and Westbourne Park tubes. Far from the hubbub of Portobello Road market, it sits on the quiet, peaceful Ledbury Road surrounded by bakeries and boutiques. It’s quite small inside but almost always busy, so it’s no wonder people are spilling out onto the patio. The décor inside is fun and colourful and immediately gives you the impression that this is a place that likes to party and doesn’t take itself too seriously. The walls and bar are decorated with of retro slogans like, ‘tequila: helping women lower their standards for years,’ and ‘beer will change the world’, and even the toilets are decorated with blackboards proclaiming, ‘drunk is the new sober’ and ‘I drink while I work out, I call it bacardio.’ So there is really no doubt where the Walmer Castle’s priorities lie: getting you liquored up and having a jolly good time!
But it’s the little touches that really make this pub stand out. By the front door sits a brass brolly holder shaped like an umbrella, and in the corner is a faux grandfather clock surrounded by photos of old London. The overall feel is a real mix between traditional pub and modern cocktail bar, although don’t let that fool you, as they definitely don’t do cocktails here.
In keeping with the décor, the clientele are relaxed mostly 30-somethings up for a fun night, though don’t be surprised to spot the odd solo drinker cosied up with a newspaper. Since most of the chairs are so comfortable you could sink in and never move, it’s pretty easy to lose a few hours here without even noticing, particularly when it’s so peaceful outside and there’s such an incredible menu on offer upstairs.
On first glance, The Walmer Castle almost feels like a Thai restaurant with pub attached. Though downstairs is very much dedicated to drinking and relaxing, there are entire walls covered in blackboards listing the favourite ‘must try’ dishes and a brief explanation of what goes into each of them. The pub is clearly proud of its food, so much so that the website even includes the Thai green chicken curry recipe and a ‘make it yourself’ video tutorial. It’s no surprise they’re shouting about it; the food sounds and smells delicious and it’s hard not to gaze longingly upstairs to the dining room when you’re drinking downstairs, (though you can eat down there, too). Prices are modest, with starters like pak chup (tempura vegetables) and poh pia phed (crispy duck spring rolls) starting at £4.95. Curries, like Kaeng Kari (a yellow curry with potato and coconut milk) go for around £8 or £9.
On tap you’ll find the usual suspects, including Calrsberg, Aspall, Kronenbourg, Peroni and Estrella. Signs above the bar list the house wine (Pinot Grigio) at £5.15 for a 175ml glass, though the restaurant’s wine menu starts a little cheaper.
The Last Word
If you’re after somewhere in Notting Hill with a bit of character and a cheeky side, you’ve found it. This is a pub with heart and a naughty twinkle in its eye, as well as an enormous Thai food menu and outdoor seating for those summer evenings. A little more out of the way than most Notting Hill boozers, this is definitely worth the walk.