Peter Morrell and his wife are charmed by the location and the food in this beautifully positioned restaurant
At any time, day or night, Greenwich is a stunning place to visit and there is so much to see and do. The Queen’s House, the Naval College with its magnificent Painted Ceiling (which can currently be seen up close during restoration work) and the incomparable Cutty Sark.
The college was originally a hospital for naval veterans who were allocated three pints of beer a day, The beer was brewed on-site in the Pepys Building which is now the very characterful Old Brewery.
Arriving in Greenwich we went through the college gates and within a few steps the noise of the traffic faded making the location an oasis of calm. The Pepys Building has a handsome stucco facade and outside a large terrace for al fresco drinking and dining, an ideal spot to relax after a hard few hours sightseeing.
Inside, the Old Brewery offers two distinct areas, there is a cosy bar with exposed brickwork serving a wide range of craft beers and spirits, many of them made locally. The most breathtaking part of the interior is the dining space. It’s a huge room with a skylight and one wall features multi levelled staging with eight beer tanks made from gleaming copper. In keeping with the heritage of the area you are surrounded by maritime memorabilia. There are tea chests from China, carved whale’s teeth and pulleys from a ship’s rigging.
On the night we were there the restaurant was busy but the height of the ceiling meant that there was a pleasant buzz of conversation without the room being noisy.
It’s interesting how menus have changed over a relatively short period of time with the emphasis now being on lighter well flavoured food. The Old Brewery offering was a good example of this. For the starters it featured dishes like Wye Valley asparagus and Suffolk ham hock and mushroom terrine.
My wife’s choice of starter was Cornish pan seared scallops with a cauliflower purée and crispy cubes of London chorizo. This was well presented with generously sized scallops which were moist and tender, and the chorizo added an extra taste dimension. My starter was Littlebird gin cured Scottish salmon with crème fraiche, radish and capers and was delicious. It was light and delicate with fresh notes of the sea.
The mains were equally as creative, and featured minted Dorset lamb medallions, Wickes Farm pork belly and some good vegetarian options. We decided to stick with a fishy theme with my wife choosing the poached Scottish rainbow trout with a quinoa, lentil, cucumber and avocado salad. This was a healthy dish, packed with flavour, interest and contrasting textures which my wife declared highly enjoyable.
My main was the pan seared hake with garden peas, cider buerre blanc, clams, pea shoots and mint. This had all the elements of food that I like, hake is underrated in the UK but when cooked well, as this was, it’s unbeatable. Adding the fresh taste of the pea shoots and the sweetness of the baby clams made it very satisfying.
The wine list has a good variety of vintages classified by style, for example aromatic and spicy in the whites and rich and juicy in the reds. Prices by bottle start at under £20 and there is nothing other than sparkling over £30. As we had eaten fish our wine match for the evening was the white Santa Rita Colección Privada Reserva Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. This had lovely citrus and gooseberry aromas in the bouquet, on the palate there were flavours of tropical fruit and the finish was crisp and fruity.
There were indulgent desserts like sticky toffee pudding and a chocolate and salted caramel pot with honeycomb. However we had been quite disciplined with our choice of dishes and continued that to the end by sharing three scoops of the luxurious Jude’s ice cream – salted caramel, peanut and honeycomb. The perfect finale.
The Old Brewery is open for morning brunch, lunch and dinner so what ever time you visit Greenwich you can get something to eat and drink. There is also a very good Sunday roast.
This was an excellent meal in every sense, the surroundings were unique, the food was inventive and the service team friendly and efficient.
The Old Brewery
The Pepys Building
The Old Royal Naval College
London SE10 9LW
020 3437 2222