28 Cross Street, Barnes, SW13 0AP
tel: +44 (0)20 8392 2200
"Sometimes there are more dogs than people in here," laughs the soft-spoken Canadian landlord of the Brown Dog. This was proven correct by Exhibit A: a gigantic poodle sitting under the table beside us gnawing noisily on a big bone. Its owners were oblivious, too busy tucking away into their Sunday roasts with intense concentration. Exhibit B: a devilish little terrier running around the front of the bar, like he owned the place. "Yeah, and if you haven't seen it yet, come and check out our dog wall of fame," the landlord adds. "It's an ode to all the local dogs that hang here."
LOVE IT. On the other hand, if you don't like the idea of pups in pubs, then the Brown Dog is not for you. Indeed as the landlord tells me: "one lady got in such a state about having dogs in the pub that we had to ask her to leave." So there you have it. Dogs definitely rule here. But luckily for humans, the food is also top notch.
My friend G and I ventured in on a sunny Sunday. While there were plenty of appealing starters on the menu (plum & parma ham salad with sesame dressing for £6.50 or six Irish rock oysters with chili & lemon vinegar for £9) we had neighboring table envy and went straight for the roast beef of the day (£16.50). It was the giant, golden Yorkshire puddings that swayed us, I think. There were plenty of ales to choose from (a light Wandle ale, brewed in Battersea and a bitter from Kent) but I was in a wine mood. The waitress suggested a large glass of rioja, which turned it into the perfect Sunday lunch. Well, almost...
For dessert, I chose the English Cox apple crumble with vanilla ice cream (£5.50). If I had been a dog, my tail would have been wagging with delight. G went for a sticky toffee bread and butter pudding concoction which she gazed at lustfully.
The bill came to just over £60, which is a tad on the pricey side for a pub. Still, the food is very good and the atmosphere is delightful. In the summer there is a pretty garden out back where they sometimes put on moorish seafood BBQs. Oh, what torture that would be for a pooch. As we paid up, the lovely landlord let us in on a juicy little secret. G had been flipping through the Sunday Telegraph magazine and pictured on the front was Robert Pattinson, the heart-throb British actor from the Twilight movie. "He comes in here. His parents live just around the corner." If G and I were 15 years younger, we might have barked with excitement. But no, it's the food, not the celebrity spotting that will have us bounding back.