YES! Finally, a pub in West London, waaaay out of my normal stomping grounds! Seriously, West London is a huge big questionmark for me. Portobello Road? Never been. Notting Hill? That’s a movie, right?
Kidding, I know of Notting Hill, but the most west I’ve been in London has been a venture into Marylebone just to see what Marylebone was like, another venture into Marylebone for a party, and some time spent in northwest london–St John’s Woods and Primrose Hill and Regent’s Park. That’s all. Like I said, I know of Notting Hill, as in I know it exists. And it exists in this vague, hazy concept of “West London” that I have represented by tube stops and passing words of friends and colleagues.
That hazy concept has sort of gotten clearer as I had a ticket to go see The Tallest Man on Earth at Bush Hall in Shepherd’s Bush. I duly printed out a map before I set out on my day that morning to SOAS, then was walking to Holborn tube when I had gotten a text: I am in a bar called The Defectors Weld… looks like they do good food.
Ah, hooray for Cian being the evening’s pub scout, everyone.
After a ride on the tube, where a woman whose neglect of body deodorant had made me quite uncomfortable (but hey, it happens, I suppose), I emerged from Shepherd’s Bush station and walked along Uxbridge Road and its innumerable hair salons until I reached the pub in question: The Defectors Weld.
The interior was quite nice and spacious, with many booths and tables that were filled with people. After walking around the darkened, cosy interior, I finally spotted my friend at a table towards the back. Cian had already studied the food menu while I was in transit, and he pointed out the Herbivore platter:
Herbivore…Haloumi & Cherry Tomato Skewers, Mediterranean Vegetable Skewers, Goats Cheese Puffs, Crostini with Hummus & a Chilli Jam Dip & Marinated Olives
Doesn’t that sound good? At £10.50 for two people, it was a fair deal as well. So, Cian got the food and I got the drinks: a pint of Wandle Ale and a pint of bitter ale I can’t remember the precise name of. Yeah, sorry about that. The two pints came up to £6.60, so £3.30 per pint, I presume.
I had just gotten in past the 7 pm cut-off for The Defectors Weld’s cocktail deal. From Monday through Saturday between 5 pm and 7 pm, and on Sunday from 5 pm until 11 pm, you can buy one cocktail and get the second for £1. Cian seemed quite keen on trying The Defector, which “boasts generous measures of Absolut Vanilla, Kahlua, Amaretto topped off with a coke and Guinness float…the last word in decadence.” He passed on it this time, but he’s probably still pondering the concoction and its potential even now, I’ll bet. I don’t think any of the cocktails struck a similar chord of intrigue for me, aside from having a cocktail named The Velvet Underground. Probably for the band, not the book.
The food came and it was delicious finger food to sort of pick at as you relate your day to someone. You know how when you get a platter of food, and there’s always that one thing that isn’t quite good? Not the case for me here with the Herbivore. I think I ate a bit of everything. Haloumi (also spelled halloumi) cheese is becoming my new friend. It’s in a lot of delicious stuff.
After eating, it was time to go to The Tallest Man on Earth show, which was just a short walk up Uxbridge Road from The Defectors Weld. All in all, a very successful gastropub experience. If I ever find myself in Shepherd’s Bush, I know of one place to get a nice pint and a good meal, or maybe a glass of The Defector if I’m feeling so bold. If you’re looking to pay a visit, you can get the address and some ideas on how to get there from The Defectors Weld website.