Charlotte took a trip to the royal borough of Greenwich in search of good food, the best ales, and a foodie place to rest her head.
Greenwich: one of the prettiest places in London, and the perfect hideaway after a busy week in the City. It is most pleasantly accessed via the River Thames, on a Thames Clipper, and you can easily spend the whole weekend there.
What’s for breakfast?
If you’re starting the day early, one of the best places to get breakfast in Greenwich is The Hoy Kitchen – locals love their Full English platters (noted for being unusually grease-less) and fat sausage butties. If you fancy something more unusual, head to Royal Teas Café – breakfasts include Spanish eggs, spicy bean tortillas, and cheesy beans with Marmite soldiers; the emphasis is strongly on veggie food here, and the prices are on the cheaper side. The coffees are excellent, too.
Finally, there’s The London Particular (pictured). Located in New Cross, it’s a good 20 minute walk from the heart of Greenwich but is well worth the detour. Breakfast options (all available to takeaway) include: homemade brioche; a delightful combination of streaky bacon, garlic mushrooms, goats’ cheese and spinach on toasted artisan bread; or cinnamon yoghurt with fresh fruit. They also do brunch at weekends – well worth labouring over, for a good hour-or-so.
No trip to Greenwich is complete without a mosey around the famous Greenwich Market. It’s London’s only historic market set within a World Heritage site, and is open Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5:30pm. The market stalls we recommend for lunch include Son of Pampa's churros, filled with dulce de leche or brigadeiro chocolate sauce (devilishly excellent for pudding); Teriyaki-Ya for superb curries; Pie in the Skyz for hearty, British pies; and Hola Paella for huge pans of aromatic paella.
If you’re a big fan of sausages, and didn’t eat too many at breakfast, then the best place for bangers is Heap’s Sausage Shop. Everything is made on site in the back of the pretty green shop, using whole meat cuts and excellent spices. You can have your banger with pretty much anything you want: a roll; on its own; with creamy mash, buttered carrots, swede and parsnip; or a beetroot and a cabbage compote. There’s plenty of mustard to go round, too.
If you fancy a stroll, perhaps venture into Blackheath Village for lunch. Handmade Food on the main street is a deli/café with a strong preference for seasonal ingredients (pictured). There’s always inventive soups available, as well as chunky pies with perfect pastry, tarts, quiches, Ottolenghi-style salads and cakes – everything is available to takeaway.
The place for a pint
Meantime Brewing Company’s first pub, The Greenwich Union (pictured), has become a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike. Every beer is unpasteurised and brewed in small batches, and in addition to a range of their own Meantime beers, The Union also showcases a selection of over 60 beers from some of the world’s top breweries. You can see the tempting list of beers on offer here – among the Meantime offerings are a London Lager, London Pale Ale, London Stout, London Chocolate Porter, and even a Raspberry Wheat.
There’s also hearty pub food served at The Union, including aubergine lasagnes, huge Aberdeen Angus burgers, and, of course, fish 'n' chips.
For a less boozy dinner, you could try somewhere lighter instead. Bianco 43, for example, is a good-value Italian restaurant in the heart of Greenwich. Most of the pizzas (excellent, chewy dough bases) come in at just under £10 at the weekends, although you can get them for almost half that price during the week. To stick with the Italian theme, head to Black Vanilla for two or three scoops of wonderful ice cream… well, ‘gelatos’ to be exact – they’re created with milk, not cream, in the Milan style. Flavours include delights such as salted caramel and Earl Grey, as well as the usual favourites.
A bed for the night
There are countless places to stay the night in Greenwich, although the majority are chain hotels such as the Mercure (a restored police station house) and Novotel. There are, however, a couple of charming B&Bs, such as Number 16 on St Alfege Passage, a period house with three guest rooms ('blue', 'yellow' and 'green'), all tastefully decorated.
For a far more unique sleepover, and especially if you’re going to a concert at the O2 that night, give the handsomely-situated The Pilot pub near North Greenwich station a go, accessible by both boat and cable car.
Built around 1800, The Pilot is probably the oldest pub along the Greenwich peninsula and last year underwent a fantastic renovation led by manager Ed Labaronnie, who has created an open-plan kitchen (main image at the top); a cosy-yet-modern bar area, complete with outdoor terrace; and ten very funky boutique bedrooms (pictured). Each en-suite room is styled differently, and include fun luxuries such as iPod docks and espresso machines. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a stunning view of the O2 and Canary Wharf from your bedroom window, too.
Remember to explore the well-styled bar and its wide variety of real ales too, then stop for your dinner at the sleek new restaurant headed by chef Sara Gibson, located towards the rear of the building (pictured). The menu is typically pub-ish, but executed with a posh flair. Sausage and mash, for example, is made from Owtons Cumberland sausage and, instead of Colman’s, comes served with a homemade grain mustard gravy. Or there’s cod in a London Pride batter with triple-cooked chips. For dessert, the monthly cheese selection is vast and well-picked, and ever-so-friendly Deputy Manager Peter Anany is a dab-hand at wine recommendations (of which there are over 50 bottles to choose from).
Can you recommend any Greenwich eateries, or foodie places to stay? Perhaps we should be visiting your town for our next Food Destination feature? As always, talk to us in the Comments box below.
First image courtesy of The London Particular; second image courtesy of Handmade Food; third image courtesy of The Greenwich Union.
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