"Good local restaurant in a former Georgian pub"Review Rating: Reviewed by Matthew B
Amidst news of local pubs closing down at a rate of knots, the Guildford Arms in Greenwich, a pub which harks back to the Georgian era, is still trading albeit in restaurant form.
It’s tasteful but soberly decorated, there’s nothing offensive but nothing to really fall in love with either, such as Farrow & Ball-type shades of grey paint, simple wooden chairs and tables with rattan-esque place mats. The garden looks delightful, but when we visited it was dark and wintry so we had to forego that option.
Ales from the Greenwich-based Meantime Brewery are available on tap. Food-wise, chef Guy Awford seems to be aiming above usual gastropub fare. Butter roast quail, carrot and swede purée, pearl barley, black kale, madeira jus and garlic foam starter (phew… and take a breath) was a substantial plate despite only being a starter. The diminutive game bird was delicately flavoured, with filling barley and purée adding richness.
Seared fillet of heritage beef was a nicely cooked piece of very good meat; I was excited by the accompanying ox cheek and chestnut mushrooms served in a separate dish, but it was disappointingly bland and reminded me of the filling you might find in a cheap Cornish pasty.
My friend enjoyed the heritage beetroot salad starter, but would have preferred a touch more acidity. Roast and braised pheasant in a white bean and smoked bacon ragout was a winning main course, with very robust flavours.
Treacle tart with orange buttermilk ice cream was more akin to a tart au citron - a lot lighter and less sugary than a full on golden syrup version. Although not what I was expecting, it was a good pud. The chocolate and hazelnut brownie had lovely flavours but it was marginally undercooked and bordered on a ganache-like consistency.
For those looking for a cheaper meal, the specials board offers great value. There is fish pie with winter vegetables, and wild mushroom linguine with cavolo nero and parmesan for £8, £12 if you include a pudding like plum and damson crumble with custard. That's cheaper than a lot of chain restaurants, plus this is home cooked food. They ought to publicise these specials on their website for people to know about them before visiting - it’s already sure to be a favourite with locals.
Matthew B reviewed The Guildford Arms on Mon 06 Jan 2014