Kingston upon Thames
Lower Ham Road
The Boaters Inn has bagged an enviable spot on the stretch of The Thames between Kingston and Teddington Lock. Beside a decent riverside location (and stellar sunset views to soak up on summer evenings), The Boaters has long been known as a jazz venue too with 2010 marking the 20th anniversary of jazz starting up here. Jazz at The Boaters started off in 1990, with one of its founding members being keyboard player Simon Carter who’s played with the likes of Jamiroquai and Anastacia.
I used to end up in The Boaters Inn every Sunday night a good few years ago, for the drinks, the gossip and the jazz, but this time my visit was all about the menu. Head Chef Amy Martin (previously from The North London Tavern, Kilburn High Road and The Four Seasons in Dublin) has created a selection of dishes that tie in with relaxed stylish dining.
From noon onwards, pub-goers at this riverside haunt can choose from the likes of Greek, Spanish and fish-laden platters to share (£13 – £15), along with choices such as butternut squash & rosemary soup (£4.50), gravadlax (£6.50) and half a pint of prawns (£6.00). Main dishes are a mix of salads, burgers, a good few veggie options, along with more substantial options such as crab, chilli & coriander linguine (£10), grilled lamb chops with tzatziki (£12), pork schnitzel (£10) and pan fried mackerel (£11).
After sliding into a window booth, with the evening sun streaming in, we decided on the butternut squash soup and the gravadlax to start. They were the winning dishes of the evening – the soup with its hint of rosemary was a warming bowlful of comfort, which made you happy with the notion of summer sliding towards autumn. The gravadlax meanwhile was beautifully layered on its plate, where it shared company with some tangy capers and a deliciously delicate beetroot relish.
Our main meals came in the shape of a beetroot, goats cheese and aubergine salad, and the chicken supreme. They were good, but didn’t quite match our starters. The salad, which came on a king-sized bed of leaves was tasty enough, but skimped on the goat’s cheese and was amply sluiced in a very tasty olive oil, but a strong one that overpowered the dish a little. The chicken supreme meanwhile was full of broad beans, new potatoes and oodles of butter and tasted suitably satisfying if a little artery-clogging.
We opted for the chocolate brownie and the cheese board for dessert. The brownie made for a perfectly decent pudding, but the cheese board was a mixed bag. Tickelmore, Oxford Blue and Quickies Cheddar were all tasty, but came served with a walnut & raisin bread that would have benefited from being left out of the toaster.
It’s a relatively new menu here at The Boaters Inn and there are one or two small tweaks that need making here and there, but they are just that – small tweaks. With a modest-sized but varied menu like this one and with a few small changes, this riverside pub is capable of serving up a pleasantly relaxed way to while away a summer’s evening.
Reviewed by: Helenka Bednar