Victoria Purcell takes a chilly stroll along the Thames before heading to the brand new Woolwich Equitable, a pub by Antic London, for Sunday lunch and a pint
I do like Woolwich these days. No longer a peripheral suburb with no decent pubs, it now has the DLR, the imminent arrival of Crossrail and a more fun (I should imagine) commuting option via the Thames Clipper. The Royal Arsenal Riverside development by Berkeley has been a huge factor in all this.
They’ve created a pretty nice place to hang out among the old riverside military buildings. Head down No1 Street and you’ll pass The Dial Arch (Decent Pub Number One), the Firepower Museum, Greenwich Heritage Centre and sculptor Peter Bruke’s scattering of iron men, The Gathering, by the pier. Then you hit the Thames, which demands Sunday strolls.
I’d recommend a stroll before a visit to Decent Pub Number Two for Sunday lunch, the new Woolwich Equitable. Calling it a ‘decent pub’ really doesn’t do it justice, though. The building is magnificent. Located on General Gordon Square, which has a great vibe about it since its makeover, it was originally the headquarters of the Woolwich Equitable Building Society, dating back to 1935.
It’s been beautifully refurbished to show off the double-height ceilings, grand marble columns and spectacular Art Deco glass ceiling. There are heavy velvet curtains, rows of cinema chairs, a first-floor mezzanine area and a cosy snug for hiding away. It’s certainly grander than any pub I’ve ever seen before.
The Sunday roast menu features a selection of carefully sourced meats, as well as, when we visited, an absolutely huge seasonal vegetable Wellington. We ordered the Black Angus top-side of beef, from Norfolk, and the Black Face lamb leg, from Devon. All come served on a pretty, chintzy plate, handsomely stacked with roast potatoes, Chantenay carrots, honey roasted parsnips, buttered Savoy cabbage, Yorkshire puddings and red wine gravy.
The lamb was really tasty, clearly Devon is a place where the young chaps like to frolic, but the beef could have been more tender and I thought the Yorkshire puddings a little flat (I’m a Yorkshire girl – tough crowd). The roasties, however, were flawless.
With six real ale hand pumps and a regular rotation of handpicked brews from the local Hopstuff Brewery, this is also a great den for beer drinkers. We discovered a new favourite – Sharp’s Cornish Pilsner, which won World’s Best Lager at the World Beer Awards in 2013. It’s crisp and clean with a herbal lemon aroma – perfect to accompany a roast.
Two courses for two around £35 (excluding drinks)
Everything from Friday night drinks to Sunday roasts
What to eat…
Try the week day dinner menu too, which features the likes of pan-fried grey mullet
What to know…
Pick a table in the snug during the chilly winter evenings
Equitable House, General Gordon Square, Woolwich SE18 6AB; 020 8317 7190; woolwichpub.com