Ahead of some afternoon research at the Kensington Library, Colin (ESSEXURs), Bernard (Kerrins) and I headed from our rendezvous point outside Queensway Station to the Prince Edward in Princes Square.
The pub was established in 1858 and originally known as the Princes Hotel. Behind the horseshoe shaped bar was a very large clock. On the walls below some ornate plaster work on a high ceiling were pictures and also a painting of Edward V11.
There was some decent real ale available including Tanglefoot, Badger and Fursty Ferret. A private function room, ‘Prince Edward Underground’ is available downstairs.
Twelve months ago the local Chronicle featured the pub. Chris Dessillas stated that he had managed the pub for five months and he was asked a number of questions:
Firstly, how was the pub coping during the economic downturn ?
‘The pub is very fortunate that it is in quite a touristy area so that has really helped. We have been trying to keep the menu as fresh as possible by changing it every so often. There is also a function room downstairs, with a separate bar that people can hire out. It holds around 70 people. Also recently we have had the sport on, which has worked fantastically well. We had a great turn out to the opening and closing ceremony of the Olympics and when the football starts up again the place will be packed.’
He was also asked about his best-selling beers and how much he charges:
‘We have two great beers. If you want a bitter it has got to be Badger, which is known as a champion beer because it has won some awards. However, we also have Tanglefoot, which is a Premium Ale that has been described as drinkable and refreshing. Lots of tourists seem to like that one.
It (prices) can range from ¬£3.40, which is our cheapest ale, to ¬£4.20 for a beer or lager. We need to keep the prices low because the area is very competitive. In a half mile radius there are about 10 other pubs.’
The manager was then asked to describe his average customer and what was on the menu:
‘That’s quite tricky. We get a lot of tourists, and then there are quite a few families, some 25 to 34-year-olds, and some older regulars. When the football season starts we get a lot of supporters in.
We have a new menu, because the old one had a bit of a bad reputation. The best thing has to be the Chicken Tikka Masala. I know that it sounds like an odd dish to have in a British pub, but it is actually one of the top 10 dishes expected on a pub menu. We tried to make it really authentic by having a guy from India come over and show our chef how to make it. So it’s all homemade and a reasonable price at ¬£9.95.’
Finally Chris was asked for a historical fact about the pub:
‘When it opened it was actually a hotel called Prince’s Hotel. Now the rooms above have been turned into flats though. Also David Cameron has drunk in the pub when he used to live in the area.’
Hall and Woodhouse is an independent, regional brewery which can be traced as far back as 1777. Charles Hall founded a brewery in the village of Ansty, which is near Blandford in Dorset. The partnership dates from 1847 and they now operate over 250 pubs in the south of England under the name of Badger Brewery.
(The above pics were taken by Colin, aka ESSEXURs, and used with permission)