They did a fine job in restoring The Kings Arms at Hampton Court and then they were hit with a double whammy: Covid-19 lockdowns and now the shutting of Bushy Park to through traffic! But the resilient team hasn’t let this throw them – the terrace has allowed the business to reopen (albeit still not fully) but it’s a start…and a great one! Carefully shielded from the traffic noise with shrubbery, that offers an element of privacy too, the sunny terrace is a fabulous place to relax with friends and family (and the family hound’s welcome too). The day we went along to check out head chef Jack Scoines’ new menu it was sunny, but there was a very cold easterly wind. No problem; blankets were swiftly offered, plus comfy cushions for the chairs.
The menu is great: it’s sensibly curated and we were really spoilt for choice with all the delicious sounding sharing plates to start. They are £7 each (as a starter) or four for £25 – providing a perfect light snack lunch for two or an indulgent tapas experience if, like me, you love tiny tastes of different dishes. We finally settled on just one starter each. The Crispy Devilled Whitebait, Dill Mayonnaise and Pickled Cucumber was really good. The whitebait was piping hot, crispy, and the accompanying dill mayo the perfect adjunct. The other starter we chose was a portion of Stornoway Black Pudding Bon Bons with Brown Sauce. Reader, I loathe standard brown sauce, but this one was home made and elevated to a different stratosphere. The bon bons were again piping hot, and having been presented after the whitebait, we didn’t have to rush to enjoy them at their best freshly served. Instead, we could linger over them while enjoying a G&T and a beer. Noting the selection ordered by the table next to ours, I had serious food envy, and I’ve already mentally chosen my tapas selection for our next visit!
But we had our main courses to enjoy, and enjoy them we certainly did. I opted for the Roast Wiltshire Free Range Chicken Supreme, served with Cauliflower cheese; hand cut chips and a Truffle & Tarragon Jus. (£19). It was delicious, rich and extremely tasty. My husband chose Wye Valley Asparagus Risotto, Young Morels, Cipolina Onion & Blue Monday No 7 (Alex James’s blue cheese). It was pretty as a picture, although slightly on the meagre side portion-wise as a main course (£17), but tasted truly fabulous.
With wines from £7.45 a glass, there’s an eclectic wine list as well as a full cocktail menu and of course, still being a pub at heart, draught beer. We finished with a very generous assortment of artisan British cheeses served at the perfect temperature (with a great chutney) and a portion of Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Delice, Salted Caramel, Roasted Hazelnuts and Praline Ice Cream. I wasn’t allowed even a tiny spoonful of that, so it must have been particularly good!
The vibe at The Terrace is very relaxed and on a sunny day without that easterly wind, will be a lovely suntrap. There is a picnic in the park hamper available (£60 and serves four) and the other items on the Terrace menu are available for takeaway too. You could combine it with a visit to Hampton Court Palace or a stroll in Bushy Park or the Palace grounds. I know that we’re certainly planning another visit very soon!