Fuller’s recent addition, The Sail Loft adopts a commanding position along the Thames, in one of the capital’s four World Heritage sites.
It’s part of New Capital Quay, a development by Galliard Homes on a stretch of dockland called Greenwich Waterside.
There’s a huge riverside terrace with plenty of seating, although when we visit the sun is beaming but it’s just a little too bracing for a meal outside.
My dining partner is Mum, who played on The Cutty Sark as a child, but it’s clear as we wander around her childhood and teenage stalking ground that Greenwich and Deptford are now virtually unrecognisable to her. Landmarks that she does remember include the Old Royal Naval College (her uncle was in charge there and so her sisters and brothers had something of a free reign), the former antiques market now an oasis for food and the Swimming Baths (now waiting to be developed).
On the ground floor, an enormous open-plan area houses a central bar and seating area at the far end, the kitchen and pass. When we visit on Saturday, there’s a family section which is full of buggies, toddlers and associated parents.
For those of you who know about Fuller’s Brewery, I won’t need to bore you with their range, but their Chiswick Bitter, London Pride and ESB have been named Champion Beer of Britain at CAMRA five times. As you’d expect, they have their full range on offer, along with their Cornish ciders.
Upstairs, there’s a galleried seating area, lots of booths sit along the wall, free-standing tables by the tall windows and at either end great spaces for private groups to enjoy special occasions.
Thankfully, the menu arrives on an A5 card, so no books to wade through. Small, but perfectly formed choices for lunch, sit alongside an excellent bar snacks menu (although I fear it needs a reprint).
Mum opts for the Potted London Porter hot smoked salmon (£7.50) which had great flavour, although was slightly too cold to spread well on the thin ciabatta.
My choice of crispy pork rillettes was a fine one (£7). Roughly chopped pork had been seasoned and made into a square patty, deep-fried and served with a spiced chipotle mayonnaise. The delicate cornichon and razor-thin-cut fennel salad were welcome.
A large pitcher of lemon-infused tap water sat on each table, without prompt.
For those who aren’t ravenous, sandwiches can be served with a handful of chips £1.50.
For the full experience, we walloped the mains. Frontier Lager dominated the batter which coated the freshest white cod for a delicious plate of good old fish and chips (£13). When near the Thames and all that. A pleasing crunch revealed the soft white flesh and that coupled with the marrowfat pea crush was a forkful of loveliness. The chips were skin-on fries, and there were plenty of them.
Mum’s Chalcroft Farm beef burger (£13) had been cooked medium-rare and was a great tasting meaty patty. If I were to be hyper-critical, the Cholla bun could have spent a little time longer under the grill, but that’s just a personal gripe I have about burgers.
You probably think we were fit to burst at this point, and you’d be right. But, for the sake of the review, we ploughed on with the dessert menu.
An apple crumble had nice big pieces of apple in it and had just the right amount of sugar. Again, the salted caramel custard left me a little flummoxed when a good vanilla custard would have done the job better. Who’s ever ordered apple crumble for the salted caramel custard accompaniment?
However, the screaming success, certainly for my Mum was Paul’s Brownie (a recipe by Fuller’s Executive Chef). This small square, showered in icing sugar was one of the best she said she had ever eaten. I’d like to have been able to agree but I failed to get a spoon or crumb offered. I was allowed to remove it for a photograph, just, and I can confirm it did look and smell heavenly.
I should at this point, mention our waiter Pablo (from Spain) who couldn’t do enough for us.
If you’re in Greenwich, heading to Greenwich or fancy visiting now I’ve whetted your appetite, give them a ring to secure a table.
I was a guest of Fuller’s Brewery.