The Hour Glass, South Kensington, is an intimate, neighbourhood pub serving great pints and fantastic food. In conjunction with landlords South Kensington Estates, the pub rests in the hands of Luke Mackay and David Turcan – the duo behind the wildly successful Brompton Food Market. Just around the corner, their shop continues to command rave reviews for its superb produce, secret garden café and friendly service.
Patrick Thomas – also responsible for the design of Brompton Food Market – has again worked his magic in South Kensington. The brief was to reclaim this tired old boozer and return it to its former glories – the word gastropub was banned from all design meetings. Original features have been uncovered and allowed to shine, leaving a cosy and reassuring pub.
Attention to detail is key to Patrick’s work and quirky hand-picked light fittings, walls covered in wood panelling from local churches and even a stunning, giant hour glass sculpture attest to countless hours spent exploring architectural salvage yards. Upstairs, The Hour Glass is also home to a beautiful dining room with an open pass kitchen. With 28 covers, the room is cosy and intimate in the evening, yet light and airy during the day.
Luke has been in the food and wine business for 17 years, latterly as Borough Market’s demo chef and in-house writer. He was responsible for taking over and turning around the failing Royal Oak in Wiltshire – now rated as one of the best pubs in the country. David’s expertise lies in marketing, communications and business development, though he does possess impressive, albeit amateur skills in the kitchen. The duo met 20 years ago at Reading University – the beginning of a lifelong friendship forged in many, many inferior pubs to The Hour Glass.
Live-in Landlord, Henry Gravells, has managed some of the most famous pubs in London, including The Pilot Inn in Greenwich, The Cabbage Patch in Twickenham and The Salutation in Hammersmith. He runs a proper pub, serving immaculately preserved beer in unbranded pint glasses. London breweries are prominent in the drinks offerings, making up at least 50% of the draft options, alongside some proper cloudy scrumpy, IPA’s and at least three guest ales. Bottled beers represent London’s great beer heritage and other more modern brews on offer have been sourced from friends in the neighbourhood.
The kitchen is headed up by Tim Parsons, who has experience working with Michelin-starred chefs such as Bruno Loubet and in restaurants such as The Ebury. Tim has also worked in some of London’s best food pubs and his food philosophy corresponds with the beliefs of Luke and David – the best tasting ingredients, left alone!
Tim and Luke have created the menu from the best seasonal ingredients they can find, using the same superb, artisan producers that supply Brompton Food Market. Every purchasing decision the team make is based solely on taste. Highlights on the menu will include: sea bream with cauliflower, burnt leeks and brown shrimp; flat iron steak with dripping chips and bone marrow gravy; and chocolate porter cake with milk ice cream and honeycomb.
London is built around its boozers, each of which has a story to tell. Against a backdrop of yet more pub closures, replaced by monochrome housing, the team invites you to feast your eyes and satisfy your taste buds at The Hour Glass, built with the best of London pub traditions, in the heart of South Kensington.