Thatched House W6

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Thatched House W6

Thursday October 25, 2012

Flavoured tonic waters and exclusive ales have helped a landmark Hammersmith pub reinvent itself.

Tim Harrison reports:

Restored, revamped and reinvigorated after a major makeover, a historic west London local boasts one beer it can truly call its own.

Hammersmith’s Thatched House, on the edge of Brackenbury Village, is the only boozer in the land to stock Sambrook’s Thatched House pale ale, a foamy, fruity, hoppy brew which is carbonated,  cooled and passed through floral hops. Unfiltered and unpasteurised, it’s a refreshing hybrid with the thirst-quenching power of a good lager and the taste of a great bitter.

It’s one innovation at a pub which seems to have been casting around for its identity for years, and now appears to have found it under the stewardship of Osh Rogers (the landlord with the Midas touch at The Ship in Wandsworth) and Phil White. Modern food – well thought out, well-prepared – mixes with London pub traditions to create a friendly, upbeat local at the road branch in Dalling Road, with mix ’n’ match furniture, comfy zones, grandma’s kitchen tables, chalkboard price lists, and discreet rather than dominant TV screens. A Youngs house, the pub also specialises in gin (the Sipsmith distillery is a short stumble away) with its own house infused tonics, ranging from earl grey and coriander to kaffir lime and basil.

Built in 1832, the pub has been remodelled at the back to create a light, airy dining area, while fold-back doors open on to outdoor ‘rooms’. The Ship chef Shaun Harrington oversees the menu while Belgian kitchen wizard Medhi Jeanjean conjures up Sipsmith gin-cured salmon (immersed in dry gin and sloe gin for 36 hours), signature-dish Angus beef burgers (£11 and simply superb) and runny-yolk Scotch eggs.

I’d already been tipped off about the burgers. Now you could argue that a burger is a burger, but you’d be completely missing the point. Contrasting a properly cooked, top-quality meat burger with a fast-food version is like comparing a magnificent caesar salad with some leaves of limp lettuce. The Thatched House version is no ordinary burger. It’s made with top-grade meat for one thing, and its construction demands architectural skills and culinary love.

“I’m committed to running the Thatched House for at least the next three years, and my reputation hangs on this,” said Osh, who began his long pub career as a teenager pulling pints at the Stag’s Head – a ‘time capsule’ Victorian gem in the heart of Dublin. “The Thatched House is a great opportunity,” he said. “The feedback has been good, the locals like it, the bloggers like it, and I’m confident that, with Young’s backing, it’ll do well.” 

In his early 20s, Osh moved to London and took over the now-defunct Magpie & Stump in King’s Road, Chelsea, before moving to the Man in the Moon in the mid-90s. Mindful of the way Osh had
stamped his personality on the Ship, Young’s asked him to take Thatched House under his wing. He is rising to the challenge.

“I have the full support of the brewery, and Phil and I have worked together for a long time,” said Osh, who is patiently building an enthusiastic core of regulars. “I want people to know we’re running it well, and looking after the heritage and the business.”

The new-style pale ale is, insists Phil, a good example of blending tradition and modernity. “We want people to move from lager to this; we don’t want people to move from bitter to this,” he said. “It’s converted a lot of people!”

Though popular as a summer pub, you suspect the Thatched House will really come into its own with a winter atmosphere, when drinkers can perch on sofas in front of roaring fires – a welcoming sight as you enter. By focusing on food and friendly service as well as good beers, the pub is pulling in a new crowd, attracted by the look and the buzz. Stand by for a lively pub quiz, starting shortly.

The Thatched House, 115 Dalling Road, W6. Call 020 8748 6174 or visit: www.thatchedhouse.com (opens new window).

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