The circle of life. Nothing lasts for ever. All good things must come to an end. Or do they? Until recently, The Engineer in Primrose Hill was one of our favourite gastropubs, serving restaurant quality food in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. But then the owners of the venue refused to renew the lease, forcing the landlords who had been there for 17 years to seek an alternative place to continue serving their innovative pub grub.
And sure enough, in October 2011, their new venue opened. The Hampshire Hog on King Street in Hammersmith isn't a million miles away from their old Primrose Hill venue, and it is clear that they are just as serious about their food. That dedication became even more apparent when we ordered. The menu was slightly limited with only around half a dozen options per course, yet we wanted to order each and every item.
We narrowed down our selection for starters to the cheese soufflé and the braised lamb shoulder and we were not disappointed. The soufflé was delicate and light with a distinctive but not overpowering cheese flavour, served with salsa and sour cream. The lamb was even better, a seven-hour slow roasted cut marinaded in spices to give it a Moroccan flavour, particularly with the crushed peanuts, coriander and pomegranate topping. All served on top of warm, fresh bread this was easily one of the best starters we've had recently.
Having warmed up nicely, the main courses swiftly followed. The sirloin steak was huge and juicy with bone running down one side and a thick seam of fat on the other. Any fan of red meat knows that these two factors always help to give taste to the meat and this was a steak of big, bold flavours. Served with peppery garlic butter and a large portion of chips, a winner all round. We also sampled the pork belly which was flawlessly prepared, it was perfect in both taste and presentation.
Rounding off the meal with a cheese selection, three delicious dairy treats served with quince and giant water biscuits - the perfect size for two to share. The service was particularly speedy, our three courses took no longer than 90 minutes to get through, a delightful change after some particularly long waits in other restaurants. It's great to see the old team from The Engineer back to what they do best, picking up where they left off. The Hampshire Hog looks like it just might be as good, if not even better.....in fact we're already planning our return!
The Hampshire Hog, 227 King Street, W6 9JT