We were ushered upstairs to the elegant private function rooms for some excellent canapés with Pimms and Prosecco before being shown through to the grand dining room for our three course meal. A stunning function room both opulent and classy; spacious with high ceilings, glass chandeliers and big windows with balconies overlooking old father Thames makes this an ideal summer riverside venue for weddings, dinners, parties etc.
Last time I was here it was a late sunny spring evening after, rather appropriately, watching Portsmouth beat Charlton Athletic before my beloved Pompey became mired in fraud and corruption. Several pints of the rather potent Nelson’s Blood bitter at 6% made for a rather interesting journey home to North West London. I’d always wanted to return here and this invitation gave me the perfect excuse to spend some time in one of my favourite London riverside pubs.
I arrived by river bus from Embankment Pier, an underused but efficient way to travel along the river to Greenwich. A short but quite delightful walk past the Cutty Sark, leads to this quite magnificent regency building bathing in the warm orange glow of the slowly setting late afternoon sun.
Opened in 1837 to celebrate Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar, this unique Thames-side venue was once frequented by such literary luminaries as William Thackeray and Charles Dickens. Now restored back to its former Regency splendour, the Trafalgar Tavern offers a stunning backdrop whether it’s for an ice cold beer on the terrace, an intimate dinner for two or a celebratory event for a group of friends and family. There are no nearby roads, so apart from the general hum of the city and the occasional landing at city airport you can enjoy the peace and quiet of the river.
The walls are covered with images of victorious admirals from past imperial wars. I guess it’s what one would expect in Greenwich given its historical connections with the navy, being the former home of the Royal naval training college. However, being a man of peace, but lover of history, I’ve never been comfortable with things that celebrate the death of others but appreciate the long association of Greenwich with naval history and its myriad of fascinating stories and spent a while perusing the artwork.
The house white was Los Caminos, Sauvignon Blanc 2015 from Chile 2015. A perfectly decent white wine with notes of lemon and green apples with a refreshing acidity making this rather excellent with sea food. The starters of juicy cold salmon with pickled white onion and potato needed a few twists of black pepper to really complete it but the thinly sliced raw beetroot really made this special. An imaginative, balanced harmonious mix of textures and flavours and a great match for the wine.
The highly trained staff, taking great pride in their work, managed the presentation and service with all the style and elegance of synchronised swimmers, marching from the kitchen in line astern the plates being lowered onto the table at the same time; a simple but thoughtful touch which a made the experience all the more memorable.
The main course of roasted rump of lamb was deliciously pink and tender with a piquant horse radish sauce and a deliciously divine dijon accompanied by a rich creamy square of dauphinoise potato and crisp steamed sugar snap peas
The house red was Los Caminos, Chilean Merlot 2015, with notes of blueberries and blackcurrant with lots of rich forest fruit on the palate. A little acidic to drink on its own but it was a pleasant counter balance with the juicy lamb and the richness of the dauphinoise.
I’m not normally one for dessert being more of a port and cheese guy, but the cheesecake with strawberry and jus was creamy, elegant, a weeny bit decadent and rounded off a perfect evening.
The public space downstairs has a long elegant bar with some cracking ales and a fairly good wine list long with an ever changing gastro-pub style menu with slow roast pork belly, pan fried calves liver along with sharing platters and pub snacks. There is also an outside terrace for those warm summer evenings to watch the sun set over the Thames.
I rode back to the Embankment on the river bus watching the city lights flickering along the river with a full and most contented belly, but I’ll be back again to the Trafalgar before the summer is out to sample the pub menu; you should do too as it’s a relaxing oasis of calm less than 30 minutes from the city.
The Trafalgar Tavern