The Albion, Kingston-upon-Thames

Overlooking the green and pleasant Fairfield Park in the leafy London suburb of Kingston Upon Thames, The Albion strikes a perfect balance between nu-wave gastropub and traditional English boozer. For many years a tired drinking establishment propped up by a loyal clientele of local men and their dogs, it was transformed in 2016 by the Esher-based Big Smoke Brew Co. brewery and now boasts a bumper range of craft beers, served up alongside killer smoked meats, juicy burgers and hearty Sunday roasts.

The décor is warm and atmospheric without being at all stuffy. The bar retains its original dark-wood countertop and brass detailing, while low-hanging industrial-style light fittings and crisp white subway tiles on the rear wall bring a more edgy vibe. Two brown leather armchairs, as battered and worn as they are inviting, flank a large fireplace, which has clearly seen recent action. Around the room, a mishmash of chairs and stools cluster around intimate round tables, with plush sofa benches lining the walls providing further seating. There is also a large beer garden out the back, recently revamped, with plenty of patio space and heaters.

The food hits all the right spots. The menu is an Anglo-American fusion, offering classic American chilli dogs and smoked ribs alongside traditional British dishes like pie and mash and Sunday roast, with pizza and more exotic dishes like Lamb Kofta, served with Asian slaw and mint yoghurt, thrown in for good measure. Vegetarians and vegans are well catered for with a range of starters, mains and desserts, including vegan nachos topped with vegan cheese, vegan chilli dogs, and vegan Mango Sorbet. I had the Halloumi Fries with avocado dip, followed by the beef Sunday Roast and Rich Chocolate Brownie—a classic culinary trifecta that left me feeling full to bursting and immensely satisfied. But the real star of the show at The Albion is the beer.

With 20 keg taps, 10 cask lines and 5 ciders, The Albion is a real gem for beer-lovers, especially in south-west London where the craft beer-serving pubs that are so plentiful in the capital’s trendier boroughs are harder to come by. For a crisp and refreshing lager with a subtle fruit character that will leave your taste buds tingling, you can’t go wrong with the Big Smoke Brew Co.’s own Helles Lager. Delicious. But if you find yourself overwhelmed by choice, the friendly and knowledgeable bar staff will be more than happy to help you find a tipple that suits your taste.

The Albion
45 Fairfield Road, Kingston Upon Thames, KT1 2PY 
020 8541 1691