Wednesday, 9 February 2011

A Rose Amongst The Thorns

Excuse the hair... at work that day I had to stand in for a 16yr old model on our ad shoot - it wasn't a look that suited me!

Both Sarah and I walk past The Rose every day on the way to and from work, so although it’s not one of our more local pubs, we were looking for an excuse to make the trip up the Wandsworth Bridge Road to check it out. The occasion? Live music every second Tuesday of the month. We thought it could be the perfect double whammy... checking out a new pub, and Fulham’s hottest new musical talent, all in one evening.

I had never been into The Rose and when we arrived our reactions were mixed. Unlike other local pubs, the space was quite big and the tables were by no means squashed together, giving the pub a more relaxed feel, whilst also feeling that little bit more luxurious (personal space comes at a premium in central London!). However, we were hoping that the place would have a bit more of a buzz to it, and there were just a few other tables of people. Luckily for us, one of those other tables was filled with a group of old school friends of mine, which was a lovely surprise, without which the evening might have been that little bit more sterile. Indeed, my current at work hangover would most likely have been averted, and we may have even made it to Mao Tai, which we were also intending to review that evening... Never mind eh?

We settled in with some white wine spritzers (fairly reasonable at under £4 each) and turned our attention to the first act – a saxophonist. While this guy was undoubtedly talented, I’m not sure whether it set the right tone for an informal evening in a pub. However, act number two was absolutely brilliant, and I only regret that these two girls travelled all the way from North London to play to such a small crowd! Either way, one girl played guitar and provided backing vocals, whilst the other sang, and they produced a really great repertoire of low-key covers from Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’ to Adele. Without meaning to take words from the mouth of the everyone’s favourite Irish madman – Louis Walsh – they did really manage to make the songs ‘their own’ and both girls had really gorgeous singing voices. Despite the mild aberration with the saxophone, the soulful, acoustic pop of the second act seemed well matched to a Fulham pub crowd – (as much as I hate to admit it) not hugely musically sophisticated, but a really pleasant, easy listen which you could happily tune into for a few hours, or treat as high calibre background music while enjoying a few glasses of vino at your local. As much as those two aspiring musicians from North London would hate to read the above – I really do mean it as a compliment! The girls were really good, and will hopefully be back – from our brief conversation with the owner he seemed really pleased with them, and several of the punters made the effort to go up to them after their set and let them know how much they enjoyed it.
The talented ladies of North London

As for food and drinks. We did have supper before we came out, but I couldn’t resist trying the ‘scotch egg’ advertised on their bar menu to see how it compared to that of The Sands End. Whilst the Sands’ Scotch Egg really is out of this world, the Roses’ offering wasn’t too bad either. Although it was almost a pound more expensive, the egg didn’t have that lovely warm, running interior that you get at The Sands End. Yet, they add an interesting twist by serving it with a mild curried mayonnaise – a pairing that I was a little suspicious of but actually really enjoyed.
The Rose's Scotch Egg with curry mayo.... nomnomnom

We also asked after cocktails, and got a fairly confused response. There is no cocktail list per se – in fact one of the newer barmen thought they didn’t serve them – but when we repeated our request to the owner he was more than happy to offer us a small selection, including the house signature cocktail, which they call ‘The Rosebud’. Admittedly, not the most sophisticated of concoctions - The Rosebud is a mix of vodka, cranberry, soda water and Amaretto – it drew a mixed reaction from this pair of SW6ers. Sarah – the resident die hard G&T junkie, found it far too sweet and thought it stuck to the roof of her mouth. I thought it was really nice though. It is sweet, but I didn’t find it sticky or cloying and it’s quite a nice ‘relaxing’ cocktail that goes down the hatch pretty easily. But then, I’m one of the view that the more juices and bright colours you can cram in a cocktail the better (oooh the sophistication!), I’ve got a really sweet tooth and I have to say I was slightly taken in by the name – ‘The Rosebud’ does sound cute doesn’t it?

The Rosebud - The Rose's Signature Cocktail

All in all, a more than pleasant evening. I’d definitely return to The Rose for a chilled out glass of wine, and having a mid-week live music night is a really great idea to add something a little bit different to what otherwise is usually a fairly unremarkable evening (Big Fat Gypsy Weddings on Channel 4 aside!). I’d really like to return on a slightly busier evening too – I can imagine that at the weekends there’d be a bit more of a party atmosphere, whilst the larger space would hopefully stop it ever becoming a sweaty mosh-pit. For smokers, there is a decently-sized garden out the back, and the main courses I saw emerging from the kitchen looked pretty generous, hearty (if not quite standard) pub fare. On Tuesday, they do steak and chips for two with a bottle of wine for £30 – combine this with live-music and I think you’d have yourself a pretty decent mid-week supper.

The Rose on Urbanspoon

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