For the “He Who Knows” Challenge, I’ve been yet to visit a Conran restaurant, so this Thursday I did the next best thing and visited The Cow, a restaurant run by Tom Conran, the son of the more famous Sir Terence Conran. I have been meaning to go this one for quite some time, as it’s only a twenty minute walk from where I live but I just hadn’t put in the effort.
The Cow is a gastropub with the bottom floor hosting an oyster bar and a tiny private dining room upstairs set with about eight white-clothed tables. Like most pubs anywhere, the bottom floor can get quite smokey and so we decided to eat upstairs in the dining room (although note that people are allowed to smoke there as well). I highly recommend that you book in advance as its popularity ensures that locals always fill the small number of tables most nights of the week.
The dining room is extremely petite. Its tables are close enough together to be able to hear side conversations but with enough room that it doesn’t feel like you’re sharing your table. The one page menu is short but has enough variety amongst the starters, mains, sides and desserts to leave you satisfied and as typical as anything associated with the Conran name, has a fair amount of seafood.
I shared a starter of smoked eel and potato and bacon salad. There was a decent amount of eel and the smoky flavour definitely came through. The salad accompanying it was quite good as well although the dressing had an excess of horseradish that really overpowered the dish at times. I followed this with the main of roast halibut, leeks, laverbread served with an orange butter sauce that was perfectly cooked. The leeks, though softened still had form and the laverbread went well with the sweet and firm flesh of the fish but I did find the orange flavour in the sauce did not come through very potently. My dessert was a prune and armagnac crème brulee that really hit the spot at the end of the meal and was not excessively rich or sweet.
For people that want a nice meal, The Cow offers a great experience in terms of both service and food quality although you can find better gastropub affair at other places. The wine list is extensive, the staff appeared to be very knowledgeable, and service was quite good. I would not exactly make it my local place but definitely a place to indulge.
Details: The Cow
Found On: 89 Westbourne Park Road, W2 5QH
Contactable On: 020 7221 0021
Highlights: Pleasant service, great quality food, extensive wine menu, wide selection of Oysters
Room for improvement: Not fantastic value for money, and could do with a bigger dining area.
The Kua Rating: 8.5 out of 10