Since the 1990’s, due to both changes social attitudes and cheap supermarket alcohol, thousands of pubs have been closing their doors. Reportedly more than 20 each week. Pubs are having to reinvent themselves to remain relevant, adding food and even entertainment to their offerings. The Guildford Arms is a perfect example of this reinvention and they’ve done it with an emphasis on food. It maintains the special feel of a pub and serves terrific food at decent prices.
The pub and restaurant takes up three floors of a beautiful building in a residential area in Royal Greenwich. The ground floor pub is cozy and casual. The bright windows are covered in whimsical drawings that add to the festive feel. On the first floor is an elegant dining room and the second floor is a private room. It’s a handsome Georgian Pub and they’ve done a great job of updating the space. They also have a beautiful garden that is listed in Time Out’s Guide to Best Beer Gardens in London.
There are two kitchens, one that serves a bar menu and one for the main menu which changes seasonally. The chef responsible for the menus is Guy Awford who is known for his distinctive modern British style. He is also the chef behind the pub’s sister restaurant Inside, which is recommended in the Michelin Guide and was the runner up in Time Out’s best neighborhood restaurant.
Unlike many gastropubs, there was a very respectable beer range on tap. We even counted. Nine on tap with 4 from one of our favourite brewers, Meantime.
They also have an interesting wine menu. Our Pinot Grigio was lovely and served nicely chilled. But, let’s get down to the really important stuff. The food.
There are several things that I like about this menu. Sometimes gastropubs can try a little bit too hard and do things with food that just shouldn’t be done. This is just the menu that I want to see. Really good solid ingredients cooked in an interesting way. And the prices are more than reasonable for the quality of the food.
The balsamic was smooth and sweet.
The attentive server noticed my partner trying to get every last bit and offered us more bread to finish it off.
Often with fishcakes, it’s hard to find the fish from the fillers. Not in this case. Flaky white fish was the focus and the watercress dressed simply with tangy lemon juice was the perfect partner.
My husband and I always order different dishes so we can share and try more. I called dibs on the steak so he selected the Sea Bass. He was very intrigued with the mushroom foam. I asked for his review of the dish and he said that “it was very well cooked and melted in my mouth.” I tasted it and he was right.
Few things make me happier than steak and chips on a plate. I ordered it cooked to medium and it was served closer to well. But, it was still tender and juicy and that garlic butter was the perfect blend of creamy butter and herbs.
I mean, look at it. Gooey brownie with whole hazelnuts and homemade ice cream. Decadent.
This little slice of heaven was the star of the meal. Sweet, citrusy and absolutely amazing. That orange buttermilk ice cream is something really special. Really amazing flavors that had us both making those yummy food noises.
This is what they have to say on the website and is exactly what we found to be true.
“The honesty and quality of the food is very much our focus; with an emphasis on imaginative, Modern British cooking, using fresh produce sourced by local suppliers. From chutneys and oatcakes to pasta and ice cream we make everything we serve.”
Really good service, excellent food, drinks served in very pleasant surroundings.
Add in a broad product offering which should appeal to just about everyone, and you have a recipe for success.
The Guildford Arms
55 Guildford Grove