We are back on the trail for the perfect Sunday roast, and this week we find ourselves returning to the south west of the city and the much vaunted Sands End. Joining us for his second quest in a row is Durban’s own mischievous pixie Duncan, his better half Erin for her first roast, Adam, and old timers Nick, back from celebrating his birthday in Las Vegas, and Sue, and Darren.
The menu looks amazing. And if I was playing the game right now I would probably go for the smoked eel on toast, deer hot pot, and apple crumble.
The menu is here.
What Others Are Saying
Disclaimer. The views hereafter are not representative of the Quest for a Sunday Roast or any member of the Quest team
“Lovely food, friendly service & good price. We had dinner here on a quiet Monday night and enjoyed excellent fish & veggie dishes, appropriately priced. The staff was attentive without being in your face and theatmosphere at the bar was lovely, seemed to be mainly locals who knew each other & the staff. We’ll definitely go back again.” http://www.google.com “Lovely food, friendly service & good price. We had dinner here on a quiet Monday night and enjoyed excellent fish & veggie dishes, appropriately priced. The staff was attentive without being in your face and theatmosphere at the bar was lovely, seemed to be mainly locals who knew each other & the staff. We’ll definitely go back again.” http://www.google.com “This corner pub was given a facelift by the new owners at the end of 2007. It’s now light-filled, with cream-coloured walls, old oak floorboards, candles on the tables and blackboard menus. The staff are enthusiastic and clearly committed to the place, whether they’re pouring you a pint of real ale (from the Hook Norton brewery perhaps) or dishing up the British Isles menu, which has a recognisably Irish accent. The bread is good, baked daily on the premises. Scallops were served with discs of black pudding, a pleasing combination and done well. But corned beef and carrot pie disappointed: the hot-water crust was served slightly burnt, yet the filling was lukewarm. Summer pudding was the best dessert, sharp and running with dark juices. There are two wine lists: the regular one, and a version for the kind of people who think nothing of ordering a £65 bottle to go with their pub grub (amazingly, there was no shortage of these on our visit). Even the more modest wine list is packed with well-chosen bottles, with more than a dozen sold by the glass.” http://www.timeout.com
From the offset The Sands End in Fulham seems to be a quite appalling, oink filled Fulham restaurant masquerading as a gastro pub. It was tipping down with rain when the duty manager, who’s name was Toby, asked a dripping me if he could assist. I told him I had a table and received a “yar, tremendous” in return. After noting these lovelies on the bar, I got a real old man’s pint glass of Tribute and sat to scribble this review in its present tone – namely a soggy, pissed off one. Still I came up with the title:
“OINK FACTOR FIVE”
This restaurant bar is not one for the Fulham Broadway crowd. It is misplaced off the road to Wandsworth, where, with its great lighting, eclectic menu, and nouveau Pottery Barn furniture, it would be better situated off Sloane Square, or close to Notting Hill Gate.
The food looks and smells great though, other than the desserts, that tend to be pink and white mush in a glass (the rhubarb fool) or brown goop in a glass (Sticky Toffee Sunday). Tweed was heavily apparent as no one would be seen in Burberry or Barbour now the riffraff have copied them. On Sundays the bar area, and front seating area is taken up by diners. This is not a bar to hang out in on a Sunday. In Sunday is transformed into a restaurant. Actually, this pissed me off, as the bar was not a place to stand, leaving a tiny ledge to one side, that was right next to where the army of servers stood and chatted.
One thing I did notice, was a couple sitting to my left attempting for ten minutes to get the attention of one of the servers (of which I counted 8) for something as simple as a bottle of tap water. Still, that was their Sunday lunch experience, and here is mine.
(From Left to Right – Jerusalem artichoke soup – Nick, duck rillettes – Darren, beetroot and blood orange salad – Sue)
(From Left to Right – beef – Darren, Adam, Nick, chicken – Duncan, Erin, pork belly – Sue)
(From Left to Right – bread and butter pudding with apricot ice cream – Sue, apple crumble – Darren, sticky toffee sundae – Sue and Erin, fig and walnut tart – Adam)
Observations – Collective and Individual
- Feels like I am in the middle of nowhere, a residential area – not London town. I like the decor though. – Sue
- Barman made a bloody Mary too spicy, apologized and made another batch…….actually, Requested spicy one was perfect, requested milder one was remade, to perfection!
- This is good, really good – Nick, on his beverage
- Very strange having orange segments with a beetroot salad but very tasty – Sue
- They have a ventilation problem it gets too stuffy and hot so they keep opening the doors and it’s cold.
- My meat is still pulsing – Darren, on his rare beef. To be fair it was actually advertised as being ‘pink’.
- They forgot my Yorkshire – Darren, his plate missing the pud for the second roast in a row. I am not going to start until they complete my meal.
- It yields to the fork, it yields it yields – Darren – testing the Yorkshire when it finally arrived.
- Certainly good Yorkshire and nice beef – Nick
- A lot of beef, very rare – Darren, two really large cuts, not the wafer thin crap last week.
- Really good beef – Nick
- How’s the chicken? Sue
- Good – Erin and Duncan both eating
- Near perfect roast potatoes – Darren
- My parsnips look like old bits of rope but are tasty – Sue
- I’m enjoying my roast but maybe I’m just hungry – Darren
- Fantastic roast I love it rare – Adam
- Not sure about the veg it’s semi-pureed – Sue, on what I think was mashed swede with sugar, or maybe squash.
- This place doesn’t know what it is – Darren
- The pork was fatty – Sue
- Nick: beef was very tasty, even though a bit rarer than I normally have. Yorkshire pud 5/5. Plenty of horse radish and gravy. Veg was a bit of a mash hybrid.
- Can’t see the football – Nick Turns out to be rugby
- Yes the Yorkshire was top score – Sue
- I enjoyed my meal – Duncan
- They are a proper pub in the week, it’s just Sundays are a bit crazy – Darren
- Darren has left half his meat ???
- Duncan and Adam will be having whiskey for dessert
- There is a big discussion on the deserts. No healthy eating here!
- Sticky Toffee Sundae – brown goo in glass???
- I overheard the waiter explaining the roasts all come in children’s sizes
- The sultanas in the bread and butter pudding are actually figs – huge
- The burnt breadcrumbs on my apple pie were cooked in the same fat as the roast pots – Darren
- Adam: my tart was ok but the sponge was a bit dry
- Erin : wow! I really enjoyed that. After racing to the finish, and emptying her Sticky Toffee Sundae first. So quick Adam suggested she necked it.
- Duncan – roast was good but service was a little slow
- We all liked the roast pots
- Duncan – that food didn’t stand a chance
- Nick – the roast potatoes are very good, cooked in dragon fat
- As soon as the rugby came on, the front of the restaurant, supposedly the bar area in the week, suddenly got loud and raucous.
- I wasn’t impressed by the desserts – Sue
If I summed up the Sands End using a knee jerk reaction I would probably say that it was “tasty, but up itself.” But I think that would be unfair. The appetizers were all great, Nick had never had Jerusalem artichoke soup and loved it, my duck rillettes was great, far better than the same dish I had at the Crabtree. The salad was a strange and intriguing mix too. The mains were all good, despite the meat all coming rare, and the Yorkshire being omitted until it was delivered later. Note: This seemed to be a common occurrence as we saw lots of bread plates with just Yorkshires on being delivered. The Yorkshires did yield to the fork, the roast potatoes were nigh on perfect, and the meat would have made Oscar happy as a clam. The desserts were disappointing though.
I may have railed a little early on in the initial thoughts,but they were my initial thoughts, and we do not pull out punches on the Quest for the Perfect Sunday Roast. Would I go back? For sure, but not on a Sunday. It felt too hurried, too snotty. In the week, I am assured it feels like an actual pub and not a restaurant masquerading as one.
I would say 9 thumbs up out of the 12 there, the thumbs staying down due to the lack of ambiance, and the awful desserts.