It’s always a bit of a gamble giving a pub a makeover - getting the right mix of good service, ambience and food and drink can be a bit of a lottery. But the management at The Cock Tavern in Fulham have left little to chance in providing the Young’s hostelry with a new vibe. The exterior on North End Road, close to Fulham Broadway, has the shiny look of a gastro pub, but the interior is a comfortable mix of retro chic and modern slick. A cute design feature is the retro phones in some of the booths, which let you dial up your drinks order from your table rather than fighting your way to the bar.
“We want customers to feel like they’ve stepped into their own living room,” said manager Sylwia Wnak.
“The feedback so far has been really amazing – everyone seems to love it.”
The bar staff had a cheery welcome on the day I visited. The open plan bar and restaurant is a large space to fill, but it’s been creatively designed to flow from the drinking and dining areas, up a few steps to a retro lounge – complete with sixties Perspex globe chair – through to the garden.
Although it’s only re-opened a few months there were signs that the after-work crowd in search of refreshment had found a friendly watering hole. But there were a few diners enjoying an early evening meal and they had an interesting selection to choose from.
The menu, designed by chef Chris Szczebanski, offers Grazing Plates, Mains and Puds. The grazing choice was interesting from Sweet Chilli Highland Mussels (£6) to Tremendous Toad in the Hole (£4.50). We opted for the Breaded Whitebait (£4) and Aubergine and Tomato Salad (£5) to start, followed by a house speciality, Cock in Cyder (£20) to share. Whitebait can easily be overcooked - but not here. The Cock in Cyder – whole roast chicken cooked in Aspall’s, plus allotment salad and triple cooked chips could easily have fed a family of four... or two very hungry rugby players. But for two small women, we made a brave assault on the dish, which was tasty and succulent.
The Chocolate Mousse (£5) for dessert was truly to die for... and that’s from a real chocoholic. For lighter lunchtime bites there’s a selection of Sandwiches but The Cock is going big on their Lazy Sunday roasts and big Brunch menus.
There’s a varied selection of new and old world wines, plus cocktails and craft beers. Every Friday they have live music and on Sunday they run a quiz. The Cock Tavern, 360 North End Road, Fulham SW6 1LY. Telephone: 0207 385 6021. For more information visit www.cocktavern.co.uk