Get involved: Send pictures, video, news and views - text NEWS SHOPPER to 80360 or email us
Spread Eagle review, Greenwich
The Spread Eagle,
1-2 Stockwell Street,
The eagle has most certainly landed in Greenwich. If you have an occasion to celebrate –go there. If you haven’t – the Olympic high we are riding at the moment provides a perfect excuse for Greenwich-based celebrations.
The 17th century coaching inn has spread its wings to embrace a refurb and an inspired new menu by chef Mark Broadbent. Famous for its nautical art collection - which is still intact in spite of my clumsy slamming of the Ladies door which dislodged a beautiful piece from the wall and sent it teetering to the floor – new velvety armchairs in royal blue and red cement the maritime feel of the restaurant and its location.
The A la Carte menu seizes the attention-to-detail and flavours of French cooking (The Spread Eagle’s previous speciality) and applies it to British favourites – giving them a mouth-watering lift. Take the cocktail starter (£9.50) – a slightly retro dish which is reinvented by substituting crayfish and brown shrimp for prawn, and a brandy kick to the cocktail sauce. I sampled a papillon Roquefort soufflé (£8.00) which was expertly cooked into a spongy, light texture, offset by the powerful cheese, and with cressan pear, endive and walnut accompaniments.
An oriental vein creeps into the menu with a scallop won ton starter (£10.00) followed by the chef’s recommendation of mackerel (14.00) - served on a soy-drizzled bed of glass noodles, bean shoots, and snow peas. My friend opted for the aged rib eye steak (£28.00) – the ultimate test for her Francophile tastes – which was cooked to perfection and served with thick triple cooked chips and a béarnaise sauce.
Dessert saw British staples being reworked and reinvigorated again. An Eton Mess (£7.00) concoction came in the expected knickerbocker glory glass but was not the frothy, insipid cliché of cream I anticipated, but bursting with taste and real bite from the lemon curd and raspberries. The house crème brulee (£7.00) certainly didn’t disappoint with a perfect level of resistance in the topping-cracking stage, followed by a vanilla custard filling counterbalancing a sharp cherry surprise.
There is an extensive, largely French wine list to complement the dishes which come in carafe glasses (or coupe if you select champagne) – summing up the attention-to-detail that the venue offers.
And the service – tested by my painting-shattering misdemeanour – was spot-on with the welcoming, eagle-eyed waitresses anticipating your every whim without hovering.
Whilst this is not the obvious location for a lighter budget, it certainly delivers as the setting for a treat. The Prixe Fixe menu with two courses for £16.50 and three for £19.50 does also offer a reasonable rate and an upstairs coffee lounge provides space for less blow-out indulgence.