The approach to the Fox and Grapes is about as rural as you can get in Zone 3. The 18th century pub presides over a small enclave of buildings nestled within Wimbledon Common. This would be the Wombles' local, although they'll find no rubbish inside.
Despite looking like a country inn, the Fox and Grapes is a metropolitan gastro-affair. A makeover in 2017 prompted our most recent visit, for a spot of Sunday lunch.
We make a solid start with some salted cod cakes — the portions are on the small side, but make up for it with lots of flavour. Never mind; it's the mains we're here for. Now, a Sunday lunch in a pub is incomplete without a roast, so our dining companion opts for the pork belly, and regrets it — the pork is far too fatty, the potatoes under-cooked and the Yorkshire pudding lacking in volume as if the fluffiness has been squeezed out of it.
Thankfully we've opted for something more adventurous; the lemon sole fillets with clams turns out to be the highlight of both our meals. The zest of the lemon perfectly complements the sole and it's cooked to perfection — flaking to the gentle caress of a fork yet firm enough to retain its texture when placed in our mouths. Overall, the meal is more than decent, if a little pricey.
It's not all about the food, though. On a previous visit, we arrived just after lunch, and found plenty of space to spread out. We enjoyed a pint of HPA, a smooth, fruity pale ale from Wye Valley Brewery. There's not much else on tap, omnipresent Doom Bar aside, but the selection of bottled craft beers should be sufficient to keep ale fans happy. Those seeking wine will find dozens to deliberate over, including six reds and six whites by the glass. Between lunch and dinner the pub drops back to offering bar nibbles — olives, pork scratchings, haggis scotch egg, whitebait, etc.
Three attached guest rooms make this a delightful place to stay for a short break.
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Last updated January 2018.