*Please note that this was written before I turned vegan*
Veggie scotch eggs, chandeliers and Yorkshire puddings the size of your head… As far as roast dinners go, Princess Victoria has got it all!
You probably wouldn’t guess from the outside but this is a huge pub with a beautiful dining area, a chill out section for casual boozers (and dogs – Woohoo!) and an extremely well stocked bar. It doesn’t feel too dissimilar to a fancy boutique hotel. Very flash!
Whether you’re reeling from last night’s fun and need a coffee to perk you up or you’re ready for a little Sunday afternoon tipple, the bar staff at this Shepherd’s Bush pub have got you covered. These guys refer to themselves as a Gin Palace and they’re not kidding. Their gin selection is pretty damn special and so I decided it would be rude not to indulge.
I asked the barman for his recommendation and he insisted that I try the seaweed concoction. Was I dubious? Yes. Was I wrong to be? Yes. I couldn’t get enough of this. Whilst I think this might be one of those marmite-type combinations which you either love or hate, I LOVED it. The seaweed taste is subtle but refreshing. You’ll have to try this one for yourself to decide but I’m putting my backing behind it. It’s so unusual but totally works.
Now that we were well stocked with beverages, it was time to head through to the dining room. Princess Victoria team have done a great job with this place. It maintains the feel of a traditional English pub with a modern twist. Curious, mismatched artwork is positioned perfectly atop the royal blue walls, the traditional wooden tables compliment the rustic floorboards and the natural light blends perfectly with the warm lighting from the elegant chandeliers.
Now, let’s get down to business. We all know that a hearty pub roast in a cosy pub is an English tradition but one thing I find as a veggie is that they can sometimes be less enjoyable because it’s easy to get lazy with a vegetarian option. Not Princess Victoria.
To kick things off, the menu boasts ‘for the table’, ‘starters’ AND ‘scotch eggs’ sections, all of which sounded delicious. So, naturally we tried a little of every option. We ordered the flatbread & dips, the veggie mushroom scotch egg with truffle mayo (whaaaat), the smoked aubergine puree with toasted Israeli couscous & a chargrilled courgette salad and the roasted butternut squash and goat’s cheese salad.
First up, was the veggie scotch egg. Before I turned vegetarian, I was a big fan of scotch eggs so the idea of a veggiefied version had me drooling all over the menu. Turns out, it was just as good as I thought it would be. The whole thing was so soft and so warming. The egg was perfectly cooked so that the yolk oozed out when pierced, the mushroom was the perfect meat replacement and had sort of a mashed potato texture with the most beautiful flavours. There was a hit of salt and vinegar whilst the food was in your mouth, followed by the most perfect aftertaste of mushroom. The yolk gave it lots of moisture and the breadcrumb coating was well-executed. This was right up my street. 10/10 would recommend. It’s amazing to see a pub going to the effort to create a pub staple in veggie form. The only issue is that it’ll leave you wanting more and more… (and more).
Next, we moved on to the bread and dips. Now, this is one of those dishes that can either be really bland, or, if done well, full of flavours and textures that work perfectly together. This was the latter.
There’s nothing worse than biting into bread and having it crack and fall all over the table. This bread had the perfect texture. It was warm and soft so that it soaked up all the flavour of the dips but toasted enough that it held its shape when it was being dipped and also gave you that delicious crunch when bitten into. My dips in order of preference were:
This had a beautiful, deep flavour with hints of Indian spice and it was super creamy
When combined with the bread, it was like having bruschetta but with softer bread. It had a strong red onion taste which I loved and it was light and refreshing
This was chunky pieces of pepper with a slight pickle taste. Not bad but not as good as the other two in terms of flavour
Next, we tucked into the butternut squash salad with firm, creamy, strongly flavoured goats cheese which melted in your mouth, butternut squash which was firm to pick up but soft once you bit into it and beautiful sunflower seeds with a nutty flavour that perfectly complimented the other ingredients. The greens added an extra layer of freshness and texture which rounded off the dish.
Holy moly. This was the vegan aubergine puree dish and I can’t tell you how amazing it was. This was a combination of aubergine, courgetti, chillies and toasted Israeli couscous. I mean, wow. Just wow. The grains were soft and squishy which created a noodle-like texture and every single flavour in this dish was done to perfection.
We told ourselves that we would just have a little taste of these starters and in all honesty, there was hardly anything left when they came to clear away the dishes. Oops. #SorryNotSorry
Next, it was time for Princess Victoria to boast their roast, and boast it they did. The pub offers a veggie nut roast which is always one of those hit and miss dishes. Sometimes it can be moist, full of flavour and with amazing contrasting textures and other times, it can taste like cardboard. Luckily for me, the team at Princess Victoria have perfected their nut roast.
The nut roast was beauuuutiful – packed with flavour and perfectly moist. It was almost like a stuffing but with a nutty crunch, a lovely onion flavoured breadcrumb and more flavour than you would find in a stuffing.
The potatoes were fluffy with a crisp coating, the side of green beans were fresh and seasoned with garlic and the carrots and cabbage were perfectly cooked. I’m not a big parsnips fan but Chris reported that they were sweet and tasty.
As for the Yorkshires, they were fluffy, soft in the middle, crunchy on the outside and, most importantly, huuuuge! There’s not much better in life than a Yorkshire smothered in gravy. Heavenly.
Sadly, the macaroni cheese was a little bland for me but to be honest, the mains are so big that a side dish is a little extravagant anyway.
All in all, this is a really bloody lovely roast dinner and the entire experience has all the ingredients you need for a brilliant Sunday. Families, friends, couples, this is the kind of place where anyone would feel at home.
So next time you’re thinking about grabbing a roast out West, pop down to Princess Victoria. You won’t be disappointed!