THE SCENE My friend and I bowl into The Idle Hour on a frazzled Thursday, both feeling snappable after our respectively stressful weeks. This is a neighbourhood pub, walking distance from the Tube, but off any major thoroughfare, meaning the bar may be slammed one day, slow the next. Happily, we’re here on a quiet night and feel our frowns disintegrate in the tranquil surroundings, as we are tended to by the charming bar manager. The vibe is elegant but laidback; it’s still a pub and therefore informal, but care has been taken creating stylish surrounds. There are seating areas in a separated section of the main bar as well as upstairs.
If you want to skulk off to a corner with your cocktail, you’ll find a sofa on which to repose.
THE GRUB I begin with carrot and orange soup; full of sweet and tangy flavours. My friend has the sinfully delicious sticky onion and gorgonzola pie. Our main courses are brought out as I wipe the last trace of soup from my bowl with an olive oil-soaked chunk of bread. I’ve ordered the day’s special, a whole grilled mackerel with plum chutney. Under its crispy skin, the fish is rich and melts in the mouth, perfectly balanced with the tart, juicy fruit. My friend is equally happy with her uncomplicated but tasty slow-roasted free range pork belly and bramley apple mash. We don’t really have room after this, but when has dessert ever been about being hungry? We share the white chocolate and Bailey’s cheesecake and slip into a reverent silence. This dessert deserves our full concentration.
BEHIND THE BAR There’s a wide selection of beers and ales and a comprehensive list of – mainly organic – wines. A cocktail menu features all the classics and the bartender will help if you’re craving something obscure.
BILL PLEASE Starters from £5.50; mains from £11; desserts from £4.50.
VERDICT That this pub is hidden away is both a curse and a blessing. Such great food deserves a packed house, but, secretly, we like it quiet. 4/5
171 Greyhound Road, W6 8NL
Tube: Barons Court