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Review: The Vanbrugh Tavern, Greenwich
For the Love Edition, PubSpy’s partner makes a rare appearance...
YOU never quite know what you’re letting yourself in for when you find yourself being led down a dimly lit back street.
But I was pleasantly surprised.
At the end of Greenwich’s Colomb Street stood The Vanbrugh, a pub that offered a wonderful retreat against the backdrop of a rather unpleasant estate.
If we were at sea, this could have been our lighthouse.
Excited about the next instalment of our weekly “date night”, I opened the door to find the pub packed – not a spare table in sight.
But after lingering near the door for some 30 seconds, the barwoman swept over to welcome us.
Rustic old armchairs guaranteed a cosy night for two, but we were ushered out into an adjoining room to take our seats.
Here I enjoyed the higgledy-piggledgy décor – slightly worn-out wallpaper, strings of fairy lights, tiny candles and disco balls that hung from the ceiling.
The menu came with a fine choice of foods, all freshly prepared in the open kitchen.
Nothing could be more romantic than sharing an £8 platter of breads, cured meats and cheeses, despite the odd obstacle of the gherkin.
Conversation was easy as the tables were scattered far enough apart not to hear the ins and outs of our neighbours’ chatter.
Staff were friendly and attentive but not overbearing, and sitting with my £3.45 gin and tonic, I was excited to see where the evening would take us.
But by 8.30pm, a small man fluttering white sheets of paper had made his way around the tables.
As the pub quiz began, we skipped dessert and made for the door.
PUBSPY’S PARTNER’S VIEW
YOU never know what to expect when you’re being led down a dimly lit back street on “date night”.
You know what you hope for.
And this was certainly it – the quaint crown jewel of Greenwich.
My first thoughts as I looked upon the red leather armchairs were that I’d stepped into a drawing room for post dinner cigars and cognac.
However, with no thick lingering haze, I could see clearly there was more to this place than meets the eye.
There was a bustling atmosphere with smiling faces and not a spare table in the front of house.
But friendly staff led us to the colourful annex out the back where we were spoilt for choice for a table.
If we’d arrived half an hour later, it would have been a different story as the place filled up for the Monday pub quiz.
For starter we ordered mixed cured meats, cheese, breads and pickles – lovely, except for the pickles.
But I forgot what was to come as I ate the usual two bites to my partner’s one.
Out came £9 worth of organic beef burger with melted cheese and bacon together with what may be the best chunky chips I have ever tasted.
I was impressed to find a large selection of lagers and guest ales, opting for a £4.40 Hoegaarden with a slice of fresh lime.
I would have gone for more when the offer of dessert came around but I’d been foolish enough to have left the room and so as the quiz picked up, we made haste and left.
How One rates:
DECOR ***** (interesting and random)
DRINK **** (good choice)
PRICE *** (average)
ATMOSPHERE **** (buzzing)
STAFF ***** (helpful and attentive)
Address: The Vanbrugh Tavern, 91 Colomb Street, Greenwich SE10 9EZ
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