It’s always pleasant going to a pub beside the river, as the views are stunning and the surroundings calming, and The Boater’s Inn provides both. Walking up to the pub, the setting is idyllic with wilting trees billowing in the breeze and wildlife bustling beneath our feet. Big wooden patio furniture with huge parasols outside the pub would be the best place to sit during balmy summer days.
The welcoming ambience greets us as we make our way to the bar. The venue is quite spread out with lots of tables and chairs for people to sit and have a warming bite to eat. It has a homely feel to it and is very light and airy. There’s even a small decking area where you can sit and gaze out on the river and observe the many varieties of water fowl. It’s no wonder The Boater’s Inn is so popular, it’s a little oasis of calm on the outskirts of the big smoke: it’s simply wonderful.
The menu offfers typical British gastropub food, all in season. Being a mussels fan, it is the first dish that caught my eye. Eagerly awaiting their arrival, I sip on a pleasing French 2009 Viognier, which comes in a glass (£5), carafe (£9.50) and bottle (£19). It’s light and crisp with peach notes and is just the drink to have after a hard day of work. It really hits the spot and feels like a treat. The mussels arrive and they are cooked perfectly and rather big. Dipping the thick rustic bread into the rich moreish sauce, I am immediately in love. With each bite, their intense flavour fills your mouth and you just won’t want to stop, and for just £6, it’s a steal. The bresaola (£6.50) is equally good and the parmesan and rocket goes really well with the saltiness of the beef.
Although our main courses should be drunk with a red, we decide to stick with white. We try the Italian Soave Superiore (£23), a very delicate wine with a slight fizz to it. It’s really refreshing and a bit more complex than the Viognier, but still a fantastic drink.
For mains we go with the recommended slow roasted pork belly (£12.50) and the chargrilled sirloin steak (£16). The former is a great sight to see – it’s a large piece of pork belly placed lovingly on some sweet red cabbage and braised puy lentils. The pork itself is very tender and the crackling surrounding it is a bit on the soft side. If they made it crisper it could really make the dish exceptional. The steak however is a dish for people who really appreciate good meat. The steak is unbelievably juicy and your knife slips through it comfortably. It is cooked to your requirements and they could easily charge more as the quality is so extraordinary.
As we prepare ourselves for dessert, we take a breather and just sit back and enjoy the setting. Around 8 pm, a lot of cyclists and rowers fill up the pub – not that surprising as Kingston rowing club sits next door. It’s interesting to see that it is very quiet earlier on in the evening but gets busy later.
Rest over, it’s time to tackle the Banoffee Pie (£4.50). With a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkled with a dusting of cinnamon, it seems a shame to disturb it, but with just one bite you soon realise that it must be devoured. It has a thick biscuit base and a smooth toffee filling. It’s remarkable how well balanced the dessert is – not too sweet at all, it’s just right. Finishing the last mouthful, it is time to depart and to partake in a long walk along the river, to work off our dense dinner.
The Boater’s Inn is place which has excellent food at decent prices, so if you ever want a trip to a friendly pub in breathtaking views, then make your way down to Kingston for the day and you won’t be disappointed.