Tucked away in the heart of Fulham is an unpretentious pub, which serves game in season, cask ales and you can bring the dog along to snooze at your feet too.
It was a dry evening and so my dining companion and I had decided to walk the three miles from my home to The Sands End pub in Fulham. As a result we were good and hungry by the time we arrived. Nothing like the anticipation of a good meal when you’ve worked up an appetite.
Pushing open the door, I noticed that the Oakham fleece index was quite high which suggested that there were a few bona fide shooters actually drinking and dining in the pub, albeit probably with desk jobs and out in the field rather less than they would like. However they were in search of some fresh game to eat, as was I.
We were greeted and taken through the happy crowd of ale drinkers chatting at the bar (Labradors and springers weaving around legs) and shown to a quiet, scrubbed wooden table at the back of the pub.
I do like a pub that has a blackboard I can see, announcing the daily specials. I like it even more when the blackboard has some suggestions for gins. I also like table service and menus (which is what The Sands End offers). Jostling at the bar to order and pay for your meal is never the most relaxing experience.
To start us off, whilst we looked over the menu, we sipped on Elephant gins with Double Dutch tonic (a new one on me, but delicious nonetheless. Garnished with a dehydrated green apple which was unusual but delicious.
We decided to skip having starters (a hard decision as the smoked salmon with beetroot and horseradish cream was nudging to be ordered) and head straight into main courses.
Game was in season and I opted for roast breast of pheasant, Roscoff onions and roast root vegetables, whilst my companion, as a nod to his Cumbrian roots, had slow roast Cumberland sausage. Both were absolutely delicious, although the sausages weren’t as good as “my Cumbrian grandmother used to make”.
We chose a bottle of Goleta Chilean Merlot, which accompanied the pheasant and the sausages perfectly.
The good thing about not having a starter is that you have room for dessert. We ordered treacle tart with salted caramel ice cream and apple and blackberry crumble with vanilla ice cream. Stupendous perfection and well worth the extra time then needed in the gym the next day.
If you like your single malts, then The Sands End is going to be right up your street (or rather your loch) because it has a helpful blackboard with a map of the Highlands with the locations of all the distilleries and the ages of the whiskies on offer. A sip of Talisker was the perfect finish to a meal that offered the best of UK produce.
The Sands End is a hidden gem, tucked away in the backstreets of Fulham. Apparently it’s very popular at Sunday lunchtime. There is generally game on the menu, particularly during the season – call beforehand to see what the special is. Definitely worth a visit.
Dinner for two including wine and two courses plus gin aperitifs about £100.