The unseaonally sunny weather took me to The Sun Inn at Barnes for Sunday lunch with friends today. Usually I would save this treat up for a summery June or July day, but it seemed to fit the bill. It boasts a gorgeous setting just opposite the duck pond on Barnes Common. If you are lucky enough to bag a table outside (we were), you gaze upon ducks, Canada geese and splendid Weeping Willows whilst feasting on lunch. Very pleasing. You almost forget you are in London, such is the villagey feel of the place. A lovely flower stall occupies a spot in the car park - I managed to pick up some fabulous peonies, but that is rather by the by.
You wouldn't think you could go wrong in such a setting, but sadly, on this occasion, the food was really not up to scratch. The chef was trying a little hard, it seemed to me. This is a pub. Albeit one that attracts a well-heeled clientele. What we wanted was a really good burger. Perhaps some beer-battered cod and seriously moreish chips. A proper flavoursome steak. Some good ingredients cooked simply. Good, honest pub grub. Nothing on the menu really tempted. It was all a bit... fussy. To be fair, the roast new-season lamb looked good. But it was a bit hot for that. My Serrano ham wrapped pigeon breast with walnuts and beetroot looked impressive....
...but didn't quite hit the mark. It was a touch dry, although the combination of flavours was good. Chicken liver pate turned out to be more like Brussels pate. The recipients didn't seem overly impressed. A chicken breast with Camembert was 'fairly good' but didn't seem to cause a great deal of excitement. A mixed salad came with a slightly strange dressing of oil and herbs - it would have been improved with some acidic bite. The star of the show (I'm almost ashamed to admit) was undoubtedly a shared bowl of potato wedges with sweet chilli mayo. If only we'd had the tasty Aberdeen Angus burger to accompany them!
To be fair to The Sun Inn, I have eaten here on several occasions and had much better food. I think it was perhaps an off day. And I have to say that I was favourably surprised by the bill. Also, the wine list is extremely comprehensive with a good selection of wines by the glass. I enjoyed the Spy Valley Riesling from New Zealand as a bright, tangy aperitif.
And the atmosphere was spot on for a lazy summery Sunday lunch (as was the company). I will certainly return, but hope that the menu reverts to a few more traditional favourites!
The Sun Inn, 7 Church Road, Barnes, SW13 9HE
020 9976 5256