The Hour Glass is an intimate, neighbourhood pub serving great pints and fantastic simple seasonal food in the heart of the bustling community of South Kensington. In conjunction with landlords South Kensington Estates, Luke Mackay and David Turcan are at the helm – the wildly successful duo behind Brompton Food Market. Luke has been in the food and wine business for 17 years, latterly as Borough Market’s demo chef and in-house writer. He was responsible for taking over and turning around the failing Royal Oak in Wiltshire – now rated as one of the best pubs in the country. David’s expertise lies in marketing, communications and business development allied with amazing, albeit amateur skills in the kitchen. They met 20 years ago at Reading University and forged a lifelong friendship.
Patrick Thomas Designs who designed Brompton Food Market has again worked his magic at The Hour Glass in South Kensington. Original features have been uncovered and allowed to shine and the pub is cosy and reassuring. Attention to detail is visible in the quirky hand-picked light fittings, walls covered in wood panelling from local churches and a stunning, giant hour glass sculpture. Upstairs, The Hour Glass is also home to a beautiful dining room with an open pass kitchen, and with 28 covers the room is cosy and intimate in the evening, yet light and airy during the day.
The Kitchen is headed up by Tim Parsons, who has experience working with Michelin-starred chefs such as Bruno Loubet and in restaurants such as The Ebury. Tim has also worked in some of London’s best food pubs and his food philosophy is intrinsically linked to Luke and David – “the best tasting ingredients, left alone!” The menu is born of the seasons, created by Tim and Luke from the best ingredients they can find and using the same superb, artisan producers that supply Brompton Food Market.
When we heard that the team at The Hour Glass makes every purchasing decision based solely on taste, my friend and I couldn’t wait to sit down to lunch at this South Kensington pub that takes gastro to the next level. The menu is short but every dish has been designed to showcase the very best seasonal ingredients available so don’t expect to see the same old dishes on the menu time and time again.
Saying that, there are couple of signature dishes that are so good that even our friendly waiter said he would seriously consider leaving if they were taken off the menu… after such a passionate statement we chose two of the signature dishes to start – the Rare Breed Cumberland Scotch Egg to share and the Whipped Cod Roe for her – joined by the Smoked Eel for me.
The Rare Breed Cumberland Scotch Egg was softly boiled to unctuous perfection and seasoned just right with traditional Cumberland flavours. Served with a delicious Piccalilli, the preserve balanced all the flavours and textures.
Another signature dish firmly staying put is the Whipped Cod’s Roe with Sourdough and Raw Fennel. My friend loves cod’s roe and this dish is simply prepared so that the whipped roe is the principal flavour. The toasted wafter thin slices of Sourdough were the ideal accompaniment, crisp in texture against the creaminess of the roe.
My starter of Smoked Eel served with beetroot and horseradish was another winning combination of flavours and textures, the earthiness of the beetroot pairs well with the smokiness of the eel accented by the pungency of the horseradish.
After enjoying these deceptively simple yet decidedly tasty dishes, it was time for the main course. I chose the Flatiron Steak and my friend ordered the Suckling Pig. She also asked for a side dish of cabbage which arrived smothered generously in buttery juices.
The Flatiron Steak is served with Dripping Chips, Peppercorn Sauce and Watercress. I liked how the steak is served sliced on the plate allowing you to admire the meat cooked exactly to medium rare. The Dripping Chips are exceptionally chunky which means you get the floury soft texture of potato wedges as well as the crispiness of a chip giving you the best of both textures.
My friend was very happy with her succulent Suckling Pig served with Chorizo, Butter Beans and Heritage Tomato Salad. The generous portion of pork had a melt in the mouth texture and the spicy chorizo added depth and dimension to the dish. My dining companion also appreciated the use of Heritage tomatoes which are full of flavour and she believes deserve to appear on more menus.
With such amazing main courses of generous proportions, we were almost too satisfied to try a dessert but knowing how well The Hour Glass team create beautiful dishes we decided that sharing a dessert was well worth the extra calories! Choosing something a little different, we went for the Flourless Almond Cake served with Raspberry Parfait and Yogurt Sorbet. The smooth textures and creamy flavours of the accompaniments paired perfectly with the moist light texture of the Almond Cake – once again showcasing the best ingredients available in an uncomplicated yet sophisticated fashion.
My dining companion and I agreed by the end of our meal that The Hour Glass was the perfect dining destination to grace the Brompton Quarter as the food menu stands up to any of the fancier local restaurants in the South Kensington neighbourhood with the unique quality of an intimate restaurant space that transports you to the cosy warm feeling of dining in someone’s home rather a generic gastropub. There is so much to enjoy in this quintessential London pub where you can feast on fuss-free British classics cooked to perfection while savouring tasty tipples specially chosen by Luke and David.
Special Offer for Chelsea Flower Show Ticket Holders
The Chelsea Flower Show – probably the world’s most prestigious flower show – is at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea from May 24th – 27th and you will be sure to spot some of the UK’s most beautiful blooms at the show. To celebrate the event there’s an unmissable treat just around the corner! The Hour Glass Pub will be offering all ticket holders a free glass of Prosecco, Pimms or a proper pint of British Ale. The perfect tipples for your lunchtime break or as a lovely sun-downer before you head home. The Hour Glass is just walking distance from South Kensington tube making it the perfect pub to relax in during Chelsea Flower Show. Be sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment and remember to show your ticket to redeem your complimentary drink during Chelsea Flower Show.
The Hour Glass
279-283 Brompton Road, South Kensington, SW3 2DY
020 7581 2497