The Grey Horse in Kingston, a Royal Borough is one of those faithful boozers in Surrey where you can be guaranteed a decent pint from London breweries such Beavertown or Camden Town & Meantime Brewing Company with a whisky selection that may intercept a trip to Milroys as you can’t be asked to go into town. It also has a lineage with live bands, comedy nights and cocktail drinking with American BBQ thrown in. Little did I know that a place exist like this in Kingston. They went through a big revamp in 2015 and what you get is a familiar looking pub as you walk in, wooden chairs, matching tables, ox blood banquettes and the bar. The bar that contains enough single malt to get any red-blooded whisky enthusiast riled-up. There’s bourbon too should you wish and the entire selection is all is to see pinned up against a giant peg board. The main restaurant is gilded with a selection of graffiti, one paying homage to Jimmy Hendrix, distressed brick and an open kitchen are other features. We attempted to get a seat on a Friday night but it was booked up so settled by a ledge bar side.
First of our orders came the BBQ mackerel with ginger, chilli and lime drizzle with a singed lemon. I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be heavily salted or not, but it gave the fish a strident bitterness. It costs £16 for the torture. I glugged some IPA to get ride of the taste – the first throw of the dice isn’t a good one.
The BBQ broccoli £4 with gochunjang – a Korean sauce of spicy-sweet fermented goodness arrived. The broccoli was practically raw and in the same vein as the mackerel the sauce only tasted of salt.
Better were the sweet potato fries £4 served in a narrow metal cup with a thick squirt of cloying dill aioli which I would have preferred to be on the side, it was positively nauseating and it had no business being there.
Finally came the Jacobs ladder beef rib. It’s dark, fall of the bone tender and intensely salty, like if the salinity levels were cranked up to full volume in the brine or the rub it was punished with. Our taste buds couldn’t take anymore and it was left after a mouthful. Bang goes another £17.
When did I go? Sept 2017
The damage: Expect to pay £25/30 per head with booze
The good: There is an enviable whisky selection here that’s worth a trip.
The bad: In case you didn’t notice the robust points I made about the salinity levels here, all of the food tasted like it wasn’t cooked BBQ style, but in a salt mine. There’s weapons grade amounts of salinity that you’d need a massive palate readjustment to enjoy – they could have done much better in my humble opinion. I’ll stick with Smokestak next time.
Would I go again? For drinks only
Address: 46 Richmond Rd, Kingston upon Thames KT2 5EE