The leaves are starting to turn a yellowy brown and an autumn chill is beginning to creep into the air – but wait (you and we both cry) – we’re not quite done with summer yet. Surely there’s still time to enjoy a chilled glass of wine in the fresh air? For those looking for somewhere to soak up the last of the summer sun, the pub garden of the Gipsy Moth in Greenwich is where to head, writes Holly O’Mahony…
Named after the small boat in which Sir Francis Chichester sailed single-handedly around the world between 1966-67, the Gipsy Moth pub is a big, lofty space spread over two floors. Its garden snakes from the side of the pub round to the back – but, if you can get a table in the greenery-shrouded back garden (and there are many tables to claim in these quarters), do your party a favour and pick a spot there; you’ll have much more room and an opportunity to get stuck into your meal without hungry passersby eyeing up your plate. Plus, you’ll have stunning views of Cutty Sark, which practically looms over the garden – but in a good way.
Despite having heard rumours that the food here was a cut above, we were disappointed on our visit that what was served was standard pub grub. The pan-fried sea bass on tomato and herb gnocchi I’d eyed up on the menu earlier that day had vanished from the main offering when we arrived. It had in fact been relocated on the specials board – despite, presumably, being served daily. I ordered it all the same, expecting delicious things, which sadly it didn’t deliver. The gnocchi was a little too hard and crisp, as if it had been chucked carelessly in the pan with the sea bass, which itself was plain. The ‘tomato and herb’ element of the dish was simply cherry tomatoes halved and scattered across the plate, with the occasional speckle of a flavourless pesto. I was left feeling hungry and unsatisfied.
My companion ordered the fish and chips, which came with a side of mushy peas. Although the portion of chips appeared somewhat scrimped on, the dish received the thumbs up. Judging by our experience, those looking to veer away from our choices might have a better time tucking into ‘safe’ pub fare of the sausage and mash variety (served with spring onion mash, crispy onions and red wine jus – yours for £11.95) than, say, the Asian noodle salad (£8.50), which sounds worryingly ambitious. The Gipsy Moth does, however, boast a multi-option Sunday roast menu, which I wouldn’t be against returning to try.
We didn’t bother with puddings, but for those who are interested these are of the sticky toffee pudding or warm chocolate brownie variety (and each will cost you £6.25). We did, however, sample a couple of the wines. The highlight, for me, was the Il Pallone Pinot Grigio Blush – a pale and interesting rosé – which was light and refreshing. Sitting in the pub garden and sipping on this, it really did feel like drinking the last of the summer wine.
The Gipsy Moth, 60 Greenwich Church Street, London, SE10 9BL. Open 12pm – 11pm, Sunday – Thursday; 12pm – 12am, Friday & Saturday. www.thegipsymothgreenwich.co.uk/