Victoria Purcell is impressed by the food on offer at Greenwich Tavern – it’s way beyond your standard pub grub, but relaxed, comfort food remains at the heart of the menu
A brisk winter’s stroll always seems like a good idea, until cold toes and red noses demand shelter. We’re not short of a park-periphery pub in these parts, and if you’re taking a turn about Greenwich Park, the slope of The Avenue to the west will naturally lead you to the Greenwich Tavern.
The pub has seen some changes over the years, but one thing remains constant – come the weekend, whatever the season, it’s always busy. The pavements are five deep with thirst-quenchers come summer, and in the colder months it’s a scurry for the sofas on the raised mezzanine area. But on a week night in winter it’s generally a bit quieter and you can bag a table for some hearty pub food.
I arrived on a chilly Wednesday evening hungry for all things comforting – a large glass of the cabernet sauvignon with aromas of blackberries and cherries soon took the edge off the dark and cold. The menu has just the thing for a cold day – fish and chips, handmade burgers, steak sandwiches, baked salmon… There are salads too, should you feel inclined (the thought of an iceberg lettuce makes me want to reach for a blanket, but the grilled halloumi salad with puy lentils should keep you toasty), but the excellent Chilean red I’d already lost myself in left me hankering after red meat.
The slow-braised rib of beef really delivered. It was a bit of a struggle to get off the bone but the rich peppery flavour made it worth the effort, and the root vegetable mash was good enough to make me consider taking to task a swede. Brought together with a wine jus, this is well beyond the realms of pub grub. My starter of salt and pepper squid with sweet chilli sauce was a little on the chewy side, though the batter was light and peppery. It’s always going to be hard to beat the squid you had on that little Greek island, right?
My friend was rapturous in his huge plate of nachos masquerading as a starter – crispy tortilla chips, guacamole with a garlicky heat, sour cream and grilled cheese. Satisfyingly messy but not a filthy grease fest, this is definitely one to share. He followed up with a really good beef burger with cheese and bacon. Apart from the huge tomato inside (not a fan), he had no complaints at all. Oh hang on, he did, he prefers skinny fries. I loved the fat skin-on wedges, but each to their own. If you can grab a seat before the tourists pack it out, this place is the perfect local for catching up with friends.
Dinner for two around £45 (excluding drinks)
The perfect local for catching up with friends over a bite
What to eat…
The burgers are good and there are some great choices under the Chef’s Favourites
What to know…
Bag a seat early on weekends before the tourists pack it out
1 King William Walk, Greenwich SE10 9JH; 020 8858 8791; greenwichtavern.co.uk