Restaurant review: The Princess Of Wales, Chalcot Road, NW1
- Credit: Archant
In the rarefied environs of Primrose Hill, it is just about conceivable that the press release might not be too far off the money with its opening gambit: “If Buckingham did BBQs”...
Well, if Her Maj ventures down for a gander at this one, they’d better be ready with the smelling salts.
Held each Wednesday in August in its charming basement-level garden, The Princess of Wales offers a slim menu of usual suspects from the barbie – a mix ’n’ match of burger, sausage and chicken wings – for £12, plus salad and a very creamy carrot coleslaw.
But you can put thoughts of sizzling, charcoal-dusted juicy meat and eyeball-stinging smoke out of your mind.
Disappointingly, this is a gas-fired grill, making tonight little more than an exercise in outdoor heating.
The chicken wings are the outright winners here. An American-style sticky barbeque sauce, which apparently some people travel across the capital for, is good – aniseed-sweet, spiced, tangy and smoky.
But we were gutted to spot pre-cooked burgers making their way onto the grill, the small patties arriving well-done, topped with some stringy, caramelised onion and bookended with cheap, tasteless white burger buns, one side of each briefly shown the grill before being pressed into service. They were a huge let-down.
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The pork sausages, from Monmouth’s Trealy Farm, were satisfyingly meaty and fairly flavourful at least, while veggies can rest easy with smooth, tasty vegetable bangers.
We found ourselves wondering whether we should have plumped for the kitchen menu instead to accompany our cocktails (two-for-one on Wednesdays, 6-8pm); the refreshing space gin smash (muddled grapes, Bombay Sapphire, elderflower liqueur, mint leaves and lemon juice) comes recommended, as do the bourbon smash and raspberry cosmopolitan (£6.95 each).
The garden, with its fake Banksy artwork, copious greenery and tastefully retro bunting, is certainly a little gem and deserves greater recognition, but tempting punters outdoors with a £12 bunkum barbie is not the way to sell it.