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Hampshire Hog

The Charles Campion goes the whole hog

In 1999, I was writing the fi rst edition of my Rough Guide to London Restau- rants, and I added a pub called the En- gineer to the section covering Camden Town and Primrose Hill. At that point, the Engineer had been operating as a gastropub for fi ve years, and in those far-off days, good gastropubs were still something of a novelty.

As I put it, “The cooking is accom-

plished with good, strong combinations of fl avour, and a cheerful, iconoclastic ap- proach to what is fundamentally Mediter- ranean food”. Abigail Pritchard and Tamsin Olivier ran the Engineer between 1994 and 2011, and it became an integral part of the Primrose Hill scene. So much so that when Mitchells and Butlers decided


not to renew the lease, and to turn the En- gineer into a managed house, there was a celebrity backlash among the locals. A petition was started opposing the change, and such notable Primrose Hillers as Harry Enfi eld, John Snow and Dermot O’Leary all offered their support. But it was all to no avail, the lease expired and Pritchard and Olivier were compelled to move on.

Gluttons for punishment, they took on

a site in Hammersmith that was trading as the Ruby Grand and set about refurbish- ing it and changing the name back to the original, The Hampshire Hog. To an outsider, the choice of Hammer-

smith as a site for the successor to the Engineer is an interesting one. This bit of W6 is certainly nothing like the mon-

eyed village that is Primrose Hill. The pub, however, had potential. After stripping away the trappings of the Ruby Grand, a well-proportioned Victorian public house was revealed.

The décor at the new-born Hog is light

and airy, with a good deal of very pale paint, elegant wood fl oors, mis-matched tables and chairs, and numerous bunches of fl owers. To the rear, there is a large beer garden (the beer garden was one of the great strengths of the Engineer), which looks set to be very popular throughout the summer. The food offer at the Hog is commend-

ably fl exible and aims to provide some- thing for most occasions throughout the day. The brunch menu centres on some

good egg dishes, ranging from eggs ben- edict made with honey roast ham (£8) to eggs royale with smoked salmon (£8); green eggs and ham – scrambled eggs, basil pesto and English muffi ns


or peas and eggs – poached eggs with crushed peas, tomato vinaigrette and feta (£9). Special care is taken over both the teas – from the Rare Tea Company, Prim- rose Hill – and the coffee – sourced from the Caravan Coffee Company in Exmouth Market. It’s an intelligent offer and mid- morning the bar is full of yummy mum- mies with buggies treating the Hog as a café rather than a pub and ordering long skinny whites plus a pastry or two.

The head chef at the Hog is Christopher Lyon, he originally hails from Brisbane and


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