The Pelican pub on All Saints Road has always been a bit of a lemon. Tucked away behind Portobello Road it managed to avoid attracting too many customers. It has had a history punctuated by misfortune; if it wasn't burning down it was being subjected to drug raids or being thieved from. It closed down a few weeks ago after an attempt to turn it into some sort of ersatz country gastro pub type thing failed.
The place has now reopened with a new name: 'THE RED LEMON'. Judging from the menu posted outside the place considers itself to be some kind gastro pub. We shall see.
This part of London has a strange relationship with its pubs, most of which have closed now. The public house was historically the refuge of what was once called the working class. RBKC and the developers are systematically displacing the indigenous population in favour of wealthy incomers who will most certainly not be frequenting boozers, preferring the likes of the Electric or E&O which begs the question: Who is the Red Lemon aimed at?
Beer prices in pubs are now ridiculous, in the recently refurbished KPH on Ladbroke Grove, a pint is £5 making a trip to the pub a luxury for most ordinary people, leaving a small nucleus of dysfunctional barflies to prop up both the bars and the finances of what few pubs are left.
UPDATE: I wandered int the red lemon for a beer this evening at 7.45 and suddenly found myself in a local pub, you know, how pubs used to be, people talking to each other. How cool is that!
The beer is not overpriced, it is 80 pence cheaper than Vince Power at the KPH. The place has been painted out cooly in a way that has not been decided by the owners flowery wife and hooray, the emphasis is on it being a pub.
I haven't tried the food yet but will report on that when I have. It seems to be a great deal more inexpensive than the usual run of the mill places.
The new owner is a gutsy woman, Ali, who is determined to make it work and if she has the desire to stand behind the bar for a while and make it her own she may well succeed in giving the pelican wings… Or the lemon zest.