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King William

Dave Bishop investigates a down-to-earth pub in Wilmslow

Published on July 16th 2008.

King William

Big-haired Beverley Callard, a fictitious barmaid at the Rovers but a real-life one since buying a few pubs, was complaining that she is struggling financially because of that naughty Gordon Brown – who just won’t cough up taxpayers’ money to help publicans – and the credit crunch.

As Peter Kay would say: Tapas? Pub? But then this pub is run by a señor called Francisco from Madrid, which is more than you can say about most of the tapas places in the rest of Cheshire and Manchester, where chances are the proprietor is an investment banker called Gavin from Hale.

Well, when you’re associated with Coronation Street – the kind of drama that sees murder, divorce, kidnapping and all manner of skulduggery on a regular basis, not to mention the horrors of Roy’s dress sense, and the manifestation of pure evil in the form of a sod called David, then perhaps you should see such disasters coming.

But what about the world beyond Corrie and its life-imitating-art pint-pulling personnel?I was actually going to say the ‘real world’, but then I realised that this review involved a pub in Wilmslow, a town that on a scale of one to ten when it comes to ‘keeping it real’ hovers around the minus five mark. It's a corner of Cheshire that will be forever Surrey.

On a stroll around the town, we took a peek in Stratstone’s garage, purveyors of Aston Martins (most around £100k, but a few cheapies for the white trash wannabes at around £65k) to credit-crunch-proof footballers, then wandered past the Aga store. Both were empty, which rather pleased me as only people with more money than sense buy either. Then we popped into Oddbins for some plonk and overheard two ladies who lunch discussing their vino preferences.

“Oh, I could just drink Champagne all night long,” opined one, as she casually threw her pashmina over her shoulder in that Cheshire chic-for-brains way.

Frankly I wouldn’t worry if the credit crunch munched most of the bars and restaurants in this often soulless town. So long as it left two places intact – the Coach And Four at one end, and the King William at the other.

The King William stands out like a beacon of authenticity and plain down-to-earth normality.

Not that you’d think so at first, as it’s a tapas pub. As Peter Kay would say: Tapas? Pub?But then this pub is run by a señor called Francisco from Madrid, which is more than you can say about most of the tapas places in the rest of Cheshire and Manchester, where chances are the proprietor is an investment banker called Gavin from Hale.

And Francisco’s Spanish taste hits you over the head like a matador delivering the coup-de-grace in the bullring.

In fact there are two big black bulls – model ones, obviously - locking horns in the window of one of the rooms, while elsewhere there are posters of bullfights, black and white photos of señoritas and Iberian architecture, wine bottles trickling wax over their sides and yellow ochre walls that just yell 'ole!'

Just in case you’re in any doubt about the ethnic direction, over the windows there are ‘arrangements’ featuring lemons, grapes and garlic cloves, while vines weave their way around the beams.

It sounds themed because it is, but hey, you can forgive Francisco anything because it all somehow works, in a rather kitschy way, and the food and drink are so damn good.

And here’s the really funny bit – it’s a Robinson’s pub, as in Hatter’s Mild and Best Bitter, a brand which seems about as Spanish as fish and chips. So by rights you should have a San Miguel or a Mahou – both available in bottles, incidentally – with your tapas, but no way were the missus and I going to do that with Robbies on tap.

So best bitter it was to accompany the selection of six tapas we ordered – monster portions, monster flavours and far superior to the rip-off stuff in Manchester – all for just £19.95.

They were patatas bravas, chorizo, meat balls, jalapeno peppers stuffed with cheese, mussels with mushrooms and onions, and chicken picante. English food is available, too, but why bother?

Had we turned up at night, we could have enjoyed one of the pub’s special evenings. For £14.95 you can have a tapas feast to the accompaniment of music by Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond (lookalikes and soundalikes, presumably, although the posters didn’t say) or Penny Mac. I know, Neil who?

And, had we got so intoxicated on crooning and sangria (you can order a litre jug for £12.95), we could have stayed in one of the double rooms for a mere £50 with breakie.

As it was daytime though and, tough though it was being full of lovely tapas and bitter, we felt compelled to do the Wilmslow tour because it really is another world out there. Not that you’d meet any of the really wazzocky locals in the King William. Their turf is much more the wine bar scene, so this is one pub you can safely go in without being wilmslowed.

By the way, there’s a smashing little beer garden at the back of the pub, which seems like an oasis of calm compared to the roundabout hell of the bypass with its speeding tossermobiles on the other side.

The beer garden can be used by dog owners and kids are welcome in the pub, so that’s a result all round then, isn’t it?

Rating: 14/20
Breakdown: 3/5 Food
4/5 Drinks
4/5 Decor
3/5 Atmosphere
Address: The King William
35 Manchester Road
Tel: 01625 524022

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9 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Mr M ApropJuly 16th 2008.

Is Ordinary Hedge east of Sackbag and Crotchfang, north Mongolton?

Lets not forget The King William!July 16th 2008.

I think peeps are loosing the point here and forgetting that whether the King William was in Salford or Wilmslow or even mongleton, its besides the point...this fine establishment serves great tapas and if you haven't tried it then you should. ps. I live in Salford now and I grew up in Wilmslow and I MISS WILMSLOW!!! I agree with Gary i'm afraid...might I add whats graces the front of the Wilmslow Express is generally not knife/gun related compared to the Salford express!!

Jonathan Schofield - editorJuly 16th 2008.

Jenn, sorry. By some glitch the mark for atmosphere is above the box with the ratings in. We'll rectify. We're onto the new Panacea in Ordinary Hedge as well. Expect a review soon.

GaryJuly 16th 2008.

Sorry Jenn, I can't play football.....and I'm gay. Beyond that, I'm clearly going to be too biggoted and low-class for a gal from cosmopolitan, address-a-la-mode, Salford.

GaryJuly 16th 2008.

Jenn.....thats because of all the delusional idiots from Salford-and-the-like that come down to find a footballer/rich heiress, drink their own body weight in cheap lager and start fights with the 'Rich *****s' in some test of (wo)manhood. Please feel free to stay in Salford in future - there's a good lass. x

JennJuly 16th 2008.

The Wilmslow I have experienced on a night out (forced work related) was nothing like the champagne lifestyle described here, I feared for my life (and I'm from Salford!) Please do carry on though-I'd be very interested to read a review of the new Panacea venture in Alderley Edge...if only for a laugh!P.S. 5+4+4=18???

JennJuly 16th 2008.

Gosh Gary are you a local? Wealthy? Well then, will you marry me?

EditorialJuly 16th 2008.

Whoops. Thanks- score has now been corrected.

AnonymousJuly 16th 2008.

5/10 + 4/5 + 4/5 + 3/5 = 16/25*Wonders what Mancon's accounts are like*

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