85 Albert Bridge Road, SW11 4PF
tel: +44 (0)20 7228 0923
Reading up on the Prince Albert pub before my first visit, many of the reviews weren't exactly glowing. Slow service and snotty staff were the most cited complaints. Others lamented that it was impossible to get a table at weekends. So, with low expectations - me, the hubby and two friends decided to pay it a visit on a recent Sunday at lunchtime. Despite the poor reviews, the pub is perfectly located overlooking the beautiful Battersea Park. Walking in the door, we were met with warming and spicy smells of mulled wine. Sure enough, there weren't any tables to be found, but there were four free stools at the bar. We hunkered down and ordered a couple pints of the Wandle - brewed just down the road. We spoke to a friendly young server who put our names on a waiting list for a table. "It should be about half an hour," she smiled.
Famous last words. An hour later, we still didn't have a table. The lady was apologetic but said there was nothing she could do. It seemed the rugby had started, and legions of well-built men with their collars upturned were there to stay. We ordered a couple starters at the bar. A prawn cocktail (£7) came on a bed of limp lettuce which rather dampened their appeal. They certainly were no match for the pint of prawns you can get at the excellent Anglesea Arms. Better though was the country pate with apple chutney (£6.95). The chutney was a lovely balance of onions and nutmeg and we all agreed that it outshone the pate.
By the time we finally did get a table an hour and a half later, the sun was beginning to set. And the table wasn't quite what we expected. We were taken away from the pub area and upstairs to the private room. While it was a stunning space with its own bar and a great view of Battersea Park, it was also filled with a table of 50 people having a Christmas party. Children running wild, grandmothers wearing paper crowns. Luckily, they were all fairly inoffensive. I ordered a Sunday roast with all the trimmings for £16.50. It was delicious. Rare, tender and in a delicious gravy. The roast potatoes were a little burnt and the Yorkshire pudding nothing to write home about, but the beef was well and truly beautifully cooked.
My friend ordered the seabass with baby clams on a bed of mashed potatoes (£15). It was even better than the beef. The buttered clams, slid easily out of their shells and into a lovely pesto sauce.
My husband opted for the fish curry (£11) which was fairly unexciting in my opinion, but he seemed happy. We washed things down with a lovely red called Chateau Lescalles (£6.20 per glass).
Pudding came in the form of a dark chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream. As far as brownies go, I'd give this one a 7/10. As far as pubs go, I'd give The Prince Albert a 6.5. It gets points for the beers on tap, the lovely view and the tasty roasts and seabass. The deductions come from the wait, the price (fairly expensive) and the rugby toffs hogging all the tables.