Heart and Homely

Chris Salzano heads to the Hand in Hand with her family after working up an appetite exploring Wimbledon Common
You don’t expect to find a village pub in London but, of course, Wimbledon is pretty unique and nestled near the Common lies the Hand in Hand. After a walk with our two boys we headed to the pub for lunch and found the outside area gently buzzing with a mix of locals chatting over a pint and families tucking into Sunday roast. Landlord Andrew has been running the Young’s pub for ten years, and is proud of his establishment, explaining the history then giving us a tour of his cellar and an introduction to tapping barrels of ale.

An old bakery, the pub is a mishmash of buildings with plenty of character and a lovely green outside – perfect on a summer’s day. We sat in the courtyard and opted for an ale (after our expert lesson, how could we not) a Wandle and a Young’s bitter.

The menu is a mixture of regular ‘pub’ favourites, a selection of homemade pies with dishes available as children’s portions. Our boys opted for old favourites scampi and chips and fish and chips. We shared deep fried whitebait with tartare sauce to start which, described as a “light bite”, was a good-sized portion. The fish was crispy, seasoned perfectly, and absolutely delicious.

As we started our meal the pub got busier, with some locals arriving with dogs after a walk on the Common no doubt. It is dog friendly due to its location, but also great for families with plenty of board games to keep the kids amused.

For our mains, I opted for the vegetarian halloumi salad, which was fresh and light, while my husband chose the sirloin beef roast dinner, which he assured me was beautifully cooked, and came with sweet potato mash, spring greens, peas, red cabbage, Yorkshire pudding and gravy with horseradish sauce on the side. By the look of his empty plate at the end it was very well received.

The portions were a good size and although there was an extensive dessert menu on offer we could only manage a selection of ice creams. With live music, quiz and poker nights and various groups meeting at the pub, the Hand in Hand is a community hub – very much like a village pub. It’s also well equipped for ale lovers (beer appreciation nights) and has a good mix of customers. It’s certainly a perfect pit stop after a long walk on the Common and, with a real fire, it will definitely be a draw come the winter months.

The Hand in Hand, 6 Crooked Billet, Wimbledon Common.
020 8946 5720. www.youngs.co.uk/pubs/hand-in-hand

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