The Cheese Barge

Star Travel Rating

3/5

Review type

Things to do

Location

Date of travel

June, 2021

Product name

The Cheese Barge

Product country

London

Product city

London

Travelled with

Reasons for trip

When friends suggested meeting for lunch on “The Cheese Barge”:https://www.thecheesebar.com/paddington/, moored in Paddington Basin, it sounded like a fun idea. Our table was booked for 12pm, but we arrived early so explored the area, which appears to have undergone significant regeneration in recent years.

Unfortunately, our friends travelling in from East Sussex did not have such straightforward journey with trains being delayed and cancelled. Frantic WhatsApp messages were exchanged, and we went aboard to see if our reservation could be moved back to 12.30pm bearing in mind the sitting time is 90 minutes. Here we met Mike, who was extremely accommodating and said that if we were happy to squish 5 bodies around a table for 4, it could be ours until 3pm. All sorted, Roy and I waited on the terrace of “Smith’s Bar and Grill”:https://www.smithsbarandgrill.co.uk/ (directly opposite), where a bottle of wine was very reasonably priced at £18.50 plus service.

Friends arrive at 12.30pm and we all sat down together. Unfortunately, most of the wines were simply sold by the glass, and bearing in mind the stressful journey, a bottle, or several, were required. The only one available by the bottle was Andorfer Kamptal, an eye-watering £38. However, it had to be done.

The “menu”:https://www.thecheesebar.com/paddington/ menu is divided into cheese boards, small plates, sides and desserts. Mike suggested sharing two portions of beer sticks, thin salami sticks rather like a cigarette in size) and Fried Curried Curds which he explained were a by-product in the cheese making process. The latter were delicious with the large pieces being soft and squidgy with smaller bits being lovely and crisp.

We then moved onto cheese boards, priced at £4 each or three for £10. Mike showed us the size of portion served and as there were eight cheeses listed, we discounted the two least interesting, so we could try six. All had a pairing and Mike helpfully ensured the Winslade (a Hampshire take on Camembert) paired with ‘Urfa Biber Dukka (which contained nuts) was placed on a separate board due to a nut allergy.

All the cheeses were British and included Young Buck (a creamy blue) paired with a chocolate digestive, Kirkham’s Lancashire served with Yorkshire fruitcake, and St Andrew’s Cheddar accompanied by pickled onions. All the cheeses were served with an unlimited supply of crackers.

We then moved on and chose a small plate each with Mike helpfully explaining how big some of the dishes were. I opted for a three cheese and onion pasty with house ketchup which was quite large and absolutely gorgeous with crisp pastry. Other plates selected were lamb scrumpets made with a goats’ curd and a beetroot borani (an Iranian yoghurt dip).

By now I was cheesed out, but friends shared a Jersey curd and cider brandy tart.
Service was excellent on what is actually a small barge, and as our table was next to the window on the waterside, we had a great view of passing vessels. “GoBoat”:https://goboat.co.uk/paddington/, a self-driving boating experience, appeared popular, particular with hen and stag parties judging by jollity on board.

We thoroughly enjoyed our experience despite the price of the wine, but I’d definitely recommend trying Smith’s Bar and Grill for either pre or post lunch drinks.

If you’re going to pay a visit it is worth checking out the directions to the barge which are on their website which are easy to follow (it’s around 5 minutes from Paddington station).

The barge also has a roof terrace when the weather is good.

As well as The Cheese Barge, there are several other cheese outlets including “The Cheese Bar”:https://www.thecheesebar.com/camden/ at Camden Stables, and “Pick and Cheese”:https://www.thecheesebar.com/seven-dials/ at Seven Dials.

Helen Jackson

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