The Castle, Walthamstow

Our rating: FAP Rating 3 - Click for an explanation of our ratings      User rating: Community Rating 4 - Click for an explanation of our ratings   (16 reviews)
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FancyaPint?'s review...
FAP Rating 3 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
The Castle, a grand Victorian pub on an imposing corner plot, is one of the more out-of-the-way places in Walthamstow. While the previous incarnation looked like it was done on the cheap it has now received a bit more thought with a dark and muted decor including the gastro-grey paint - they've taken a page from the sober tables and wooden floor book of pub renovation. Over to the left it's a bit more lively, with a whole wall dedicated to artwork. However, the overall effect can be a bit depressing when it's empty, rather than sophisticated. If such things concern you, the toilets are fantastic! The menu's gone a bit more upmarket, which it probably needed to to compete on the edge of Walthamstow Village. There's four well-kept ales on the taps to choose from, too. It's also got a nicely converted beer garden at the back which we can look forward to using when the weather improves. Frankly, this was a more pleasant experience than our last visit and we'll have to get back and see what the food's like.
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Reviews (1)
09 Sep 2013
Rating 4 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Great local. It's greatest asset by far is the bar staff. The new owner and small team will make an effort to get to know you. The cockney regulars and fancy pants decor make it a pretty decent place for a drink. As a woman it's a rare pub that you feel comfortable enough to come in on your own, sit comfortably at the bar and just read your magazine whilst sipping a vino. It's VERY child friendly, even at 8pm on a Sat night
Reviews (4)
21 Mar 2013
Rating 5 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Still enjoy visiting this pub with my child or in adult company. Food is good, beer and wine choice great. It is pricey compared to some pubs in Walthamstow but I will pay more to be in a nice environment. Made a few friends here also because it is a freiendly pub run by friendly people. Some reviews seem quite malicious rather than giving positive feedback or criticism. I urge people ignore it. If you want Sunday lunch without all the chaos at peak times, go later in the afternoon after 5pm it is much quieter. They do deliveries now which I have heard are good. I will still perefer to go in person because I like the atomasphere.
Reviews (4)
12 Jan 2013
Rating 5 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
This pub provides Walthamstow with more choice. The food available is great the staff courteous, polite and efficient. The choice of ales and lager is good as well as the wine list. Sunday afternoons are very popular since it is one of the very few to offer a Sunday Roast dinner and therefore it is extremely popular with families, so if you don't like children just go later in the afternoon around 4pm. I have enjoyed all my visits and on each visit something has improved. There is a lovely garden at the back of the pub.
Reviews (1)
12 Jun 2012
Rating 2 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
In trying to find one word to characterise The Castle I finally rested on ‘disappointment’. I don’t mean my disappointment in it, but its own disappointment in itself. The owners seem genuinely disappointed, almost tragically so, that their identikit ‘gastro-pub’ has not been matched with an equally identikit clientele. I can see what their business plan imagined. A kind of ‘every pub’ for smart, solvent and (crucially) childless couples who work in the media or interior design – the muted almost forbidding colours providing the perfect canvas on which to project their equally muted and unthreatening irony. What instead have they got for their labours? Un-reconstructed socialists, public sector workers, earnest book groups too busy unpicking Persuasion to be persuaded by another glass of merlot (‘oh, go on then, but make it a small one’), and young professionals, those exiles from Islington and Stokey, prepared to suffer the privations of the ‘Stow for the promise of a second bedroom in which to house their burgeoning progeny. It’s the disappointment of a modernist novel. It is Mrs Dalloway in pub form. Indeed on being confronted by the owner’s barely concealed contempt for some of his customers, one cannot help but wonder if Walthamstow is a nightmare from which he is trying to wake.

I don’t want to be too unkind. I genuinely welcome their investment – god knows the ‘Stow needs it. The Castle was frankly a bit of a mess before. And if you enjoy drinking inside the pub equivalent of a late Victorian neurosis, then the décor will work for you. The food is ok, although I don’t share the glowing reviews provided by others on these websites. Its own website proclaims a chef who apparently helped to secure a Michelin star at another restaurant. It’s important to make clear, however, that as the Michelin reviewers have not yet taken the risk on a travelcard to zone three, it may be a while before we secure a truly objective measure of its presumed culinary excellence. I have had some perfectly serviceable meals in The Castle and if that is where you are pitching your expectations, you will probably be fine. The wine list is better than most pubs and the beer is cold. That may be enough for some.

More troubling I think is the running theme that you will detect in a number of reviews, those moments when that disappointment I spoke of bubbles to the surface, unmediated by the historical conventions of the customer/service provider relationship. Take a wander through the review sites and you will find the experience of the family below who were so unceremoniously dispatched, like so many teddies out of the pram, is neither unique nor is it confined to the irritatingly fertile. I accept of course that we often only see one side of the story. But having spoken to many people in the area, and having had some unpleasantly direct experience of my own, it does feel like an alarmingly common occurrence. It’s almost as if we were not in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression – the owners seem confident that their business will endure this failure to connect with their local community in any meaningful sense.

And so this is The Castle’s real problem. It wants to be in Ladbroke Grove W11, but it’s ended up off Grove Road E17. When this irksome geographical blight comes to the fore, such as when a so-called ‘family’ dares to respond to the siren call of the words ‘family friendly’, the owners have a tendency to lash out. They object with the petulance of a pair of children, engaged in a particularly serious game of ‘shop’, annoyed at being called down to tea. And in their disproportionate reactions to entirely reasonable complaints about portion sizes and wayward ketchup, to families with toddlers who have the temerity to toddle, they betray a fundamental truth that probably didn’t make it into the business plan. That despite their chosen profession, they are not really in the ‘people business’. I wish them luck, I really do, but I won’t be returning.
Reviews (1)
05 Jun 2012
Rating 2 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Yesterday we were barred from the Castle, our local for the past six years, and where we’d been going regularly with friends, family and just the three of us. Since our son was born nearly three years ago, it’s been a staple for Sunday lunch, as children seem to have been welcome, making up half the numbers sometimes.

We were barred from this self-styled ‘family friendly’ pub because our two-year-old son was fetching a book from the bookshelf, on a very quiet lunchtime, rather than in his seat, in a bizarre, sudden and aggressive tirade from the owner.

We were the second group in on Jubilee bank holiday Monday. As we came in, our son saw the owner, cashing up at a window table and wandered over to say hello. Admittedly, not everyone finds this endearing, and the owner just told us to keep him in his seat, as it was a ‘pub rule’. OK, we’ll try…

Fatally, at our instruction he went to get a book from the bookshelf – presumably provided for us pesky customers – and the owner stormed over, saying he didn’t want children wandering about as it’s ‘not the sort of pub we want to be’. With no further debate, he told us to: “P*ss off and don’t come back”. Adding the blinder: “It’s people like you that are ruining pubs.”

Au contraire. It’s people like us that are keeping his gaff in business. Every weekend lunchtime it’s rammed with young families, paying through the nose for frankly average food, seemingly under the impression it’s as ‘family friendly’ as its marketing blurb suggests. I’m sure they’d be interested to know the landlord’s true feelings on the matter.

If well-behaved children aren’t welcome, perhaps this could be made clearer, rather than policed in a randomly despotic manner. With his attitude, I’m wondering if the ‘sort of pub he wants it to be’ is ‘empty’.
Reviews (12)
24 May 2012
Rating 4 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
As others a huge improvement since refurb - beer in great condition - a little too gastro for my liking but still a decent pub
Reviews (1)
08 Jan 2012
Rating 5 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
i live in walthamstow and the food and service is great,the manager is usually very lovely and his moustache is hot!
Reviews (1)
29 Oct 2011
Rating 3 - Click for an explanation of our ratings
OK but not a Gastropub -- A Gastropub for me means above average pub food and friendly pub service. We found neither on our first visit to this self-styled Gastropub in London's upcoming E17 Walthamstow Village area. The venue used to be a fairly ropey local pub that has clearly been lovingly transformed. In fact, the first impression this place gives is really very impressive. However the food does not live up to the ambience. We spent £40 on a light lunch for two, including drinks: one starter (Terrine of rabbit and pork) and two mains: gourmet burger, fries and coleslaw and a gnocchi dish and drinks. A generous slab of terrine was served with a miserly single slice of toasted baguette. When we asked if we could have another slice we were told it would cost an extra £1.50 for a portion of toast, with the money being demanded then and there! When we complained that we really only wanted another slice we were met with a surly response from wait staff AND managment. This was a really unfortunate first impression, I suppose for them and for us but we looked forward to our main course. However with the excepiton of the gnocchi dish, which was very good, the rest of the meal was very average pub food. I hope this place succeeds because a lot of love has clealry been put into its creation. I hope moving forward the management, who seem to be ambitious twentysomethings, learn to be a bit more generous and a little less defensive. I also hope they improve on the weaker dishes on the menu.
Reviews (1)
14 Jun 2010
Not rated yet! - Click for an explanation of our ratings
this place looks better - nothing amazing but that's about it. I have been to a lot better pubs in Walthamstow and I don't think that this place warrants a second visit. It is now run by I understand a brother and sister. On our visit they were as inviting as a wet weekend. Clearly only in it for the money and have very little interested in the local community. The evening me and my girlfriends went in the female of the two siblings was screaming at one of her bar staff for making a mistake!

The bar staff on the other had were really nice. The food is ok very very limited menu which tasted like average pub - no where near the gastro pub standard. One veggie option only.

All in all ok but not very welcoming and very little atmosphere........lots better more better in the area run by people who have a sense for the area and a smile on there faces.
Reviews (1)
22 Mar 2010
Not rated yet! - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Just a bad day? Went yesterday afternoon for lunch at about half two for our first visit. The place was buzzing, very lively with families and babies and not spare seat in the house, which we thought very promising. As we ordered our roasts at the bar the barman told us there would be a forty minute wait. I joked that would be fine so long as it wasn't an hour and a half or anything, to which the feller cheerfully responded that of course it wouldn't be that long. An hour and forty minutes later, we had to pretty much beg for some food or demand our money back. when it came, it came without roast potatoes and was stone cold. seriously not impressed. nor were three other tables, all who queued up with us to get our money back before being forced to go home and order pizza (as by then other pubs nearby had stopped service food). really not impressed. Fair enough it's busy, but if there is a problem then tell your clientelle, don't leave them hanging and certainly don't say food is going to be fifteen minutes if it isn't. Really awful customer service, and that's not even taking into account the terrible cold food. perhaps it was just a bad day. we will however be going again to give it another go as the place has a lot of potential we're hoping that it's normally fine and it was just the one day when the chef walked out mid-service or all the ovens self-destructed or something similarly catastrophic that would explain such a terrible sunday lunch service. get your act together, it is potentially a great place
Reviews (2)
03 Mar 2010
Not rated yet! - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Oh my taste buds! The new chef cooks miracles! It is the number one place to eat in walthamstow! Everybody, try for yourselves. I know where I eat from now on.
Reviews (2)
14 Feb 2010
Not rated yet! - Click for an explanation of our ratings
I think the place has had an amazing makeover. Beer is always nice and crisp, served in squeaky clean glasses, prices are reasonable and the bar staff are lovely! The place is always busy on Fri and Sat, it can be a challenge to get a table on Sun due to the roast and the quality of the place has much improved since the new owners took it on. It is now run by Ross and Ria – siblings that managed to turn this place into a very friendly and trendy pub open to everyone.



Coming on your own doesn’t feel uncomfortable – you have an impressive choice of books and a couple of games. Bar staff is always happy to spend some time having a chat with you and you generally feel very welcomed. It actually seems as if you were in someone’s living room.



They have been serving a food for over a couple of months now. Prices are competitive and quality is exceptional. On Mondays you have a really nice curry for £5, Tue - Sat a regular menu (my favourite is the vegetable tartlet) and on Sundays – roast. Desserts are fabulous but for me the chocolate brownie with ice-cream takes the prize.



The Castle seems to be going from strength to strength with constant improvements. I now have really high expectations with regards to the garden. I bet it will be amazing!
Reviews (1)
14 Feb 2010
Not rated yet! - Click for an explanation of our ratings
On arrival at the Castle last night, I noticed the owner Ross talking to another customer with great enthusiasm about the NEW Fillet Steak he had just added to the menu, replacing the Rump Steak he wasn't happy with. As he handed us a revised menu, I questioned him about the new addition, I was told with excitement that he had just tasted the new fillet and believes it is one of the finest steaks he has ever eaten, anyone choosing this dish should be prepared to be impressed. I decided to take him up on the challenge. £15.95 for an 8oz Steak with chips and salad sounded like a good price. WOW, I'm glad I did, this was a fantastic meal. I asked for the Steak medium rare and it was cooked to perfection. The quality of the meat was sublime and the home made chips were great. The Castle now has a big fan in me, I will be telling all my friends about it. I'm looking forward to trying the rest of the menu, I've heard the roast is also fantastic, see you sunday.
Reviews (1)
30 Oct 2009
Not rated yet! - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Where's the great British Food? Still not there. We've been promised this since it opened, but noting has materialised. The new management is a joke, the pub being on it's third manager since they opened. The current one is nothing if not rude, OTT and extremely off putting. Doesn't say much does it? I've only had the chance to speak to one half of the leasee team ( the bloke - Russ, i think his name is) and he's a cocky, arrogant so and so. In it for the money, not for the Village. I've lived here for 16 years and this is the worst incarnation of the Castle I've come across. Bring back Rodge!

The atmosphere is dreadful. Yesterday evening they had a 'cocktail' evening. I was approached at 6.15pm by one of the bar staff, walking around the village giving flyers out, advertising the evening. Free cocktail before 7.30! Great, what a good time to tell people about it. Maybe a bit of advance warning? Anyway, we walked down to claim our free drink, only to turn around at the door. It was 7.15 and the place had seven people in. They can't even fill the place by giving away FREE booze. What a sorry state.

On a more positive note, the booze is reasonably priced now and I can't fault the bar staff.
Reviews (1)
17 Sep 2009
Not rated yet! - Click for an explanation of our ratings
Please update your website as this pub has had a major refurbishment and new landlords/bar manager and it's looking good - very good. Stripped wooden floors great toilets fresh and clean throughout the whole pub. Small beer garden to rear with a promise of a makeover shortly and they will be doing great British Food starting mid-October 2009. I would certainly recommend this venue. September 2009

Contact details
15 Grosvenor Rise East, Walthamstow, London, E17 9LB
020 8509 8095
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