Review of 'Pub in the Park 2019: Chiswick'

pub_in_the_park.jpg https://www.pubintheparkuk.com/chiswick

I really enjoy good food. I don't think I know a lot about it but I keep trying to learn more about it. One of the things I do is watch a lot of television cooking so am familiar with many of the big names in British fine dining including “Tom Kerridge” who is involved in the creation of the now yearly “Pub in the Park” events held in multiple locations every summer. We were more than happy to spend an afternoon with some good food, the pleasant surroundings of Chiswick House (and gardens) and some interesting people to listen to talking about food…The Chiswick event had two sessions each of the three days, one in the afternoon (11:30 to 16:30; no afternoon session on Friday) and one in the evening (18:00 to 22:30; 22:00 on Sunday). We booked for the Sunday afternoon session and, wouldn't you know it, the weather was absolutely fantastic!

Opened by James Martin

Arriving early we had to queue outside before they opened the main gates. As it quite typical for such food shows there was a brief ceremony to open the show with this one hosted by James Martin (well known former host of the popular BBC live cooking show “Saturday Kitchen Live”).

Main Stage

Arranged around the Chiswick House grounds there was a stage featuring live entertainment to the south. The evening acts tended to be more well known then the afternoon acts so if entertainment is your thing, go for the (likely busier) evening session.

Grounds

There were may stalls selling all manner of food and food-related items including books, cooking equipment, cooking lessons, etc. Drink was very much in abundance with many pubs showcasing their alcohol (though as I don't drink and my companion drinks very little, this was not really of interest to us). There were also a number of featured restaurants selling some of their best-known dishes in smaller sizes for tasting (including the famous Hind's Head Scotch Egg…). Most of the dishes were around the £5 mark.

The Hand & Flowers - Kerridge's Fried Chicken

José Pizarro - Norwegian Cod Fritters

Hawkyns - Kheema Pao

The Hind's Head - The Hind's Head Scotch Egg

The Pony & Trap - Salt & Malt Seafood Tray

The Star Inn - 1/4 lb Ryedale Roe Deer Burger and Fois-Gras Mayonnaise

The food was all very tasty indeed and most of it was prepared on ordering though it was quite expensive. A good way to try some signature dishes. We particularly liked Atul Kochhar's dish “Kheema Pao” (spiced mince lamb with coriander & spices in bread) from “Hawkyns” - Just absolutely delicious and very unusual.

To the east of the house (near the permanent café building) was the “Chef Demo Stage” which featured famous figures from food throughout the day. We managed to catch an interview with food critic Jay Rayner (and purchased a signed copy of his book!), a rather obscene cooking demo from James Martin (huge amounts of calories in a decidedly not at all fine dining dish) with Tom Kerridge and his son joining at the end, then at the end of the session, chef Monica Galetti (former sous-chef for Michal Roux Jr at La Gavrouche). This small covered stage had only a small amount of seating and was often overcrowded with only a single “above view” camera often meaning the crowds missed many parts of the demo itself.

Jay Rayner

James Martin

Monica Galetti

“Pub in the Park” is more of a eating festival than a food festival. If you are interested in cooking or chefs this is not really for you. If you are interested in eating, having a bit to drink, enjoying the outdoors, listening to a bit of music, and having a bit of a laugh, come here. It is probably the most relaxed food festival I can ever recall attending with a very chilled vibe to the whole thing. The queues for food were always quite short. It was only the famous people talking that drew the big crowds.

I would suggest 2-3 hours is more than enough though more if you want to see any of the talks or attend any of the musical events. Do expect to spend a bit of money though. Advance adult prices were a bit pricey at £30 for afternoon sessions and £45 for evening (on the door £35 and £50, respectively) though they also offered family and children tickets.

Rating:

Review Date: 2019-09-08



Chiswick House and Gardens

Location: London (England)

Address: Burlington Lane, Chiswick W4 2RP ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Turnham Green NRLOGO Chiswick

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 8742 3905

URL: http://www.chgt.org.uk/

Chiswick House is a neo-Palladian villa set in beautiful historic gardens in west London built in 1729 by the Earl of Burlington to showcase his art collection. Visitors can tour the house and quite large gardens - The later for free. The Victorian conservatory is particularly interesting to visit.

Public transport to the site is not very good with a very long walk from TUBE Turnham Green or an awkward trip to NRLOGO Chiswick. Local buses do operate though. There is limited parking on-site.