The City Barge is a riverside pub in Chiswick dating back to the 14th century that reopened in May 2015 after a major refurbishment, and a new team in the kitchen. Pat Lynch is the head chef, who worked previously at Bentleys and Scotts. The pub has a fine riverside view and is an attractive spot on a sunny evening, and in suitable weather there is outside seating for diners and drinkers. There is also a first floor private dining room available.
The menu is lengthy and appealing, with pub grub mixed in with slightly more ambitious dishes. There was a surprisingly elaborate wine list, complete with tasting notes and a set of dessert wines, the list starting at just £16.75. Example labels included Mas Montel Petite Syrah 2010 at £21 compared to a shop price of £8, pleasant Two Paddocks Pinot Noir 2010 at £46 for a wine that retails at £30, and Domaine Heresztyn La Perriere 2007 at £85 for a wine that will set you back £49 in a shop.
Summer salad (£5.50) featured fennel, peas, radish and shaved Parmesan, but the leaves were of basic quality, with a lot of frisee to bulk out the salad, and the dressing was salty (11/20). A salad of langoustine and duck tongue (£10) was better, the langoustine lacking sweetness but being correctly cooked, though the dressing tasted a little odd, not pairing well with the shellfish (12/20).
“Crabacado burger” (£14.50) had a whole soft shell crab poking out from the burger bun, with a miso mayonnaise. This was reasonable, the soft-shell crab avoiding greasiness (12/20). My “shintail” pie (£14.50) with bone marrow and summer greens had bought-in puff pastry that was too flaky, but the pie itself had quite tender meat and reasonable seasoning. What was less welcome was a worrying small bone, that my doctor wife assures me was probably a spicule bone from the tendon of the cow rather than anything more disturbing. Still, it is not the sort of thing that you want to encounter in your pie (12/20 if I ignore the bone). The greens on the side were quite soggy though (10/20).
For dessert, lemon and poppy seed drizzle cake (£5.50) was worryingly dry, served with yoghurt and honey that failed to disguise the very dry cake (8/20). A trio of ice creams comprised decent chocolate ice cream but flavourless banana and raspberry ripple (9/20).
The bill was £47 a head, which I suppose is not excessive, and included a decent wine. Our Slovakian waitress was charming, and dishes arrived at a sensible pace. Overall this was decent enough if somewhat erratic in standard, but if I compare it to some other nearby pubs, like the Duke of Sussex and the Watermans Arms, then you can eat better for less money.