When I first started publishing more than nine years ago, The Naked Turtle in East Sheen was a favourite restaurant. Not necessarily for the food, which was a little hit and miss, but because of the great atmosphere and friendly service. Then it was taken over and became the even more weirdly named Lofty Turtle. And now, it’s The Bear Kick. What’s with the names?
The layout is the same as the previous restaurants – the popular bar as you enter, for those who want a grown-up drink, and then a walk through to the family-friendly restaurant. We went early on a Saturday evening and it was certainly full of families. It’s great to have a place where you know the kids can wander away from the table, but maybe wait till later if you don’t want to be surrounded by small children.
The décor is nice and simple – rustic wooden furniture, mirrors and artwork – with plenty of space between tables so you don’t feel you’re listening to everyone else’s conversation. The menu is very much pub food fayre, with great traditional dishes such as cod and chips, chilli con carne and sausage and mash. We were a party of four and while one decided to save himself for the main course, two of us had starters of grilled king prawns (£8.95). Four good sized, meaty prawns each, although the garlic butter was a little too lacking in garlic for us. My husband, Alex, had the vegetable soup – which was deliciously thick rather than full of chunks but seemed a little expensive at £8.95 for what it was. Obviously going for comfort food on a wet and windy evening, he followed this with a deeply satisfying chilli con carne (£11.95), which came with little pots of cheddar cheese, guacamole and sour cream.
Two of us went for the ‘Bear’ beef burger (£11.50), made with British beef. This was really a highlight – a large, soft, moist burger full of flavour and accompanied by fantastic fries. The only slight disappointment was the blue cheese topping. I always hope for a great big melting hunk of stinky Stilton or Gorgonzola, but it almost never happens.
Our other guest had the 8oz sirloin steak, served with skinny fries and a peppercorn or garlic butter sauce (£18.25). While more well done than the medium rare he ordered, it was nevertheless very tasty, he said, and was polished off remarkably quickly.
Again, the puddings are traditional – chocolate brownie, Eton mess, or sticky toffee pudding – although we shared a wonderfully gooey pecan pie (£5.95) and honeycomb ice cream (£1.50).
Happy to try this restaurant again, although next time I think we’ll go mid-week and eat with the grown ups!