Caramelised pears, kale pesto and goat’s cheese croquettes, Christina Stylianou unravels the flavours at The Hope in Wandsworth Common
As you enter The Hope, you notice lantern looking lights hanging over comfy sofas and booths, wooden tables and chairs, and stairs to the right that lead up to the bar. It was a Thursday evening and bustling with 20-40 year olds. The relaxed atmosphere immediately made my younger sister and I feel comfortable. It’s a large pub with various seating areas. We sat near the entrance and although The Hope is situated on a relatively busy road with unbelievably large windows, we couldn’t hear any cars.
We looked at what turned out to be a very promising menu. There’s a range of flatbreads with interesting combinations from caramelised pear, blue cheese and hazelnuts to black Combe ham, watercress and parmesan. There’s British classics including the fish finger bap, cottage pie, and steak and chips. There’s even the opportunity to BYOB, which, in The Hope’s case stands for Build Your Own Burger, with various additions from the standard cheddar topping to the not-so-standard pig’s cheek or bacon jam. Served with skin on fries and a pot of burger sauce, you can’t go wrong.
I was tempted by the cottage pie made with confit duck as it’s a combination I’ve never come across before. However, there were too many options on the ‘Small Plates’ menu that took my fancy. I opted for the handmade Scotch egg served with HP sauce, salt and pepper squid with spicy mayonnaise, and the pumpkin, kale and goat’s cheese croquette with green chilli and kale pesto. My sister chose to build her own burger, choosing British Beef with caramelised onion jam and Cornish brie.
It didn’t take long before the food arrived. The burger smelt incredible, opening our appetites even more. The beef was succulent and good quality meat. There were generous amounts of caramelised onion and brie, which was great since they complemented the beef excellently. I wasn’t sure if the burger sauce would be too much but actually, it made the burger even better. The chips were seasoned well and were soft, with some crunchy ones near the bottom. If you’re a burger fan, you won’t be disappointed with this large, tasty number.
The presentation of the small plates was consistently good. They may be ‘small’ but they’re definitely not stingy portions so they’re a great bargain for your money. The Scotch egg was slightly crisp on the outside (almost a toasted breadcrumb texture), with sage as the main flavour, which reminded me of Christmas stuffing. Within was a perfectly cooked egg – still soft but not runny.
The squid was beautifully flavoured, with a lovely amount of pepper and chilli coming through. The batter was light and flaky and the squid was tender. The spicy mayonnaise sauce had a slight kick and accompanied the squid well, along with a splash of lemon. There was a lovely crunch as I bit into the croquettes with a soft and fluffy filling. The predominant flavour was the goat’s cheese but it was a good blend and the potato didn’t get lost. Kale pesto was a new experience for me but it is something I would definitely have again as it was rich and packed full of flavour.
I have a big appetite but couldn’t finish all of the small plates so I would recommend sharing 3 or 5 small plates between two, unless you’re really hungry. Although I struggled finishing my main, I can always make room for dessert. Once again, the menu had a good range from Peanut butter cookie dough cheesecake with toffee sauce to Kentish Bramley apple and almond slice with vanilla pod ice cream. I went for the classic Sticky toffee and Medjool date pudding with vanilla pod ice cream. As soon as it was brought out, I could smell the dates. It was soft, spongy, moist, and light. It tasted fantastically sweet and went brilliantly with the toffee sauce that was poured over, which had a thin consistency. The vanilla pod ice-cream served as a great contrast to the hot, sticky sponge. If you have a sweet tooth, this is the pudding for you.
Tummies full and feeling content, it was lucky that we were only a 30-second walk from Wandsworth Common station. I couldn’t have hoped for a better meal and would highly suggest sampling their menu.
The Hope, 1 Bellevue Road, Wandsworth Common, SW17 7EG
020 8672 8717