By Jonathan Hatchman @JonHatchman
Spread across the past decade or so, a whole wave of pubs in the Greenwich area have re-established to fit in with the trendy restaurant scene. Notable institutions to have become foodie pilgrimage hotspots are The Trafalgar Tavern and The Cutty Sark, set along the riverfront between the Royal Naval College and The O2 Arena, residential pubs such as The Pelton Arms and The Greenwich Union, The Gipsy Moth situated next to the World famous Cutty Sark ship, and The Guildford Arms which is slightly further afield. However, one “gastro-pub” that’s really raising the bar is The Pilot, set aside from the beaten track, between North Greenwich’s Millennium Village and The O2 Arena, as well as the trendy Emirates Airline.
Boasting a wide range of World beers, wines and premium spirits, as well as an impressive seasonal menu, The Pilot is a real hidden gem that’s been gaining a great reputation for its ever-changing menu. Initiating with the Pork Board (£30), a sharing plate vast enough for three or four as a starter or for two as a main, featuring a delicious celebration of the most commonly consumed, albeit all-too-often executed poorly, of meats. Offering a light, yet ever-so-crispy chilli crackling, closer to a Prawn Cracker in texture than the traditional British Sunday roast version, yet maintaining all of the flavour that would be expected. Followed as the dish’s winner by a hazelnut-crusted fillet, again cooked to perfection, providing a deliciously tender contrast the crunchy cinnamon braised pork belly slices. All joined by a helping of Pork liver pate, homemade applesauce and a surprisingly tasty cherry and blackcurrant sourdough.
Next came the Chalcroft Farm Beef Burger (£13) for the main course, comprising a delectably moist patty topped with cheddar cheese, salty bacon and a chipotle mayonnaise, arriving at the table towered like the City’s skyscrapers set just across the river, alongside an included portion of triple-cooked chips, favouring the traditional chip-shop potato treat style juxtaposed to that of the French fries that would usually be found accompanying a burger as artistically presented as this one. Completed with a refreshing Cider Poached Pear (£7.50), served in a white chocolate basket alongside a scoop of surprisingly scrumptious blue-cheese Ice Cream.
The preliminary Pork Board was, however, undoubtedly the star of a delightful feast, setting The Pilot aside from your run of the mill “gastro-pub”, serving hearty food that blurs the lines between good old traditional pub grub and high-end fine dining.
The Pilot can be found at 68 River Way, Greenwich, London, SE10 0BE