Front of House. Hampshire Hog



Ed Francis
 runs the Hampshire Hog in Ravenscourt Park.


Something of a fresh start from the team who transformed Chalk Farm's The Engineer, we like Ravenscourt Park and we like the Hog. A park and a pub for all seasons.


YLWL :

Ravenscourt Park's a bit of a hidden gem... How did The Engineer end up here?

Ed :

The Hampshire Hog was going to be our second site and was a done deal long before we knew the fate of The Engineer. We saw real similarities in the two buildings – namely the great outside space and that, 18 years ago, Primrose Hill was nothing like it is today; with huge potential for growth and a real up and coming neighbourhood. RP is a hidden gem, but the surrounding areas have real potential. There is also a large redevelopment happening next door and this will give the immediate area a real boost.

YLWL :

And why "The Hampshire Hog"? Did you change the name?

Ed :

This was the pub’s original name before the previous owners changed it to The Ruby Grand. It’s bad luck to rename a pub so we changed it back. Not to mention the fact that we loved it.

YLWL :

The look of the pub is distinctive. Who's responsible?

Ed :

It’s a combination of many people’s styles and input. The owners, who are both female and in their 40’s got really involved with creating the vision. My girlfriend Fran (who is also my number 2) and I implemented it with the details – working extensively on the sourcing of furniture and other bits and bobs. We handed the branding over to a great agency (dinnickandhowells.com) who came up with the website, signage, stationery and other items to ensure that everything came together. Over the last 12 months, we’ve all continued to chip in with other items so the interior is always evolving. Most recently we uncovered some old photos from the Engineer, taken in 2001, when we were cleaning out a store room. The owners had these framed and they are now displayed in the snug at The Hog as a little nod to the journey that we’d been on before opening up here.

YLWL :

There's a feminine touch but it's not overdone and you have some craft-y events now and then - we imagine you'd get on well with the Drink Shop and Do gang in King's Cross.

Ed :

I really respect what they are are doing. We’ve had a tricky first year but now the dust has settled we’ve got more time to focus on events and would love to collaborate with more similarly-minded people.

YLWL :

So what's your idea of the perfect local?

Ed :

People are too keen to pigeon-hole venues these days. A local pub should be a hub of a community. Welcoming, friendly and there whenever you need it. It’s all about creating an ethos amongst the staff that really benefits the guests. The difference between service and subservience, a nod to the traditional values of a pub whilst providing for the needs of today’s clientele.

YLWL :

Live music plays a big part. Who's proved most popular?

Ed :

We host monthly jazz nights on the 1st Saturday of the month and Greg Davies and Sandy Burnett are going down a storm. We were also blown away by a band called Southern from Belfast, that played at our summer garden party. We’re hoping to get them back by the end of the year to play in the bar – they’re destined for huge success.

YLWL : and the food. We've still got to come down and try brunch...

Ed :

Give us a couple of weeks. We’re about to launch our new menu following 12 months of feedback from our guests. The same impeccable sourcing and accurate cooking will remain, but we’re going a little more eclectic with the food and providing some really innovative options – especially for brunch.

YLWL :

What are some of your favourite places in London right now?

Ed :

For breakfast, brunch and killing time there’s a good chance I’ll be at the Hummingbird Café in Shepherds Bush. I adore this little off-the-track café. I also love Charlotte's Bistro in Chiswick after becoming great friends with the owner. Chiswick is lovely but it’s saturated with bland chain restaurants. Charlotte's is a beacon of individuality and deserves to be packed every night! I also adore Ombra in Hackney for it’s vibe and simple, honest food. It’s always such a hoot when I visit. Nightjar is great for drinks and music and Rotisserie Jules for BYO mayhem with industry friends and great rotisserie chicken. Just don’t expect sophistication.

YLWL :

When you're not managing the Hog where do we find you?

Ed :

There’s an ongoing battle between Fran and I about where we go out. She loves staying local and I love nothing more than getting out to another part of town. So assuming I win the argument, I’ll be in Quo Vadis club, the Experimental Cocktail Club or possibly El Camion on Brewer Street depending on how the night progresses. If she wins, it’s an awesome curry at the Nepalese Tandoori on Uxbridge Road then drinks at our local – the Defectors Weld on the green. Travelling further afield, I’m hoping to open a restaurant in Mumbai next year – training young adults from the street and placing them in jobs in the hospitality sector. I’m just back from a trip there after winning a place on a Virgin Atlantic trade mission for young pioneers and am hoping to return by the end of the year to continue to get to know the city from the tables of the best places in town.

 

You'll find the Hampshire Hog at 227 King Street, by Cromwell Avenue and 2 minutes from Ravenscourt park tube. 

 

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