Esquire's Area Guides #2: Greenwich

Forget the 02 and discover the real reasons to venture South East

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For all the pre-conceived notions about South East London, us dwellers have one ace up our sleeve which is sure to silence even the most fervent critic (probably a North Londoner): Greenwich.

It's further out, sure. The Royal Observatory is only interesting the first few times, granted – and let's not even talk about the Wetherspoons. But beyond the surface, there are several locations that simply require a visit.  

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Whether you're itching for a fresh hangout or merely looking for a Sunday afternoon sit-down, this Greenwich guide contains the pubs, restaurants and comedy clubs that'll tempt you South of the river (and not just for the park).


1 | The Traditional Pie & Mash: Goddards

For any South East Londoner, Goddards is synonymous with good pie and mash. A family run business that served its first pie in 1890, a branch in Greenwich has been a tentpole for over 60 years. With an enlarged menu designed to cater the wants of all visitors, Goddards specialises in the most traditional of London meals: pie, mash and liquor. There are eels if you want them too, because what self-respecting pie haunt doesn’t have eels?

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22 King William Walk, SE10 9HU, 020 8305 9612,

2 | The Cheese Tasting Hangout: The Cheeseboard

From Swiss Ceroné matured in the Alps to a hefty wedge of French Raclette, scouring through the 150 artisan cheeses on offer in this shop is a thing of wonder; many afternoons can be wiled away deciding which to take away with you. Being a champion of Slow Food – the international movement promoting protection of local produce – sets The Cheeseboard aside; where else can you buy Graceburn cheese made in the Southeastern district of Brockley? Head on over to the website to see when their next cheese and wine tasting evening will be – the ultimate preparation for your next dinner party.

26 Royal Hill, SE10 8RT, 020 8305 0401,

3 | The Sunday Afternoon Pint: Cutty Sark

A stone's throw from the Maritime Museum and ship of the same name, this cosy Georgian riverside pub is a three-floor staple of the borough host to unrivalled views of the Thames away from the hustle and bustle of London life. Drop in on a Sunday for the optimum experience: the lemon and thyme chicken, with accompanying pigs and blankets, is worth every penny of the £13.50. Once washed down with a zesty sauvignon blanc from New Zealand's oldest winery, a relaxing walk alongside the river will put you even more at ease. While the North-South London debate rages on, The Cutty Sark provides a convincing argument for the latter.

4-6 Ballast Quay, SE10 9PD, 020 8858 3146,

4 | The Alternative Breakfast: Royal Teas Café
There’s something special about discovering a hidden gem off the beaten track in an area you’ve grown accustomed to: say hello to Royal Teas. Tucked away on the tranquil Royal Hill, the café is constantly filled with both regulars and wide-eyed newcomers sipping coffee and feasting on a variety of breakfasts, wraps and salads. If you’re looking for a recommendation, try the American: a spicy-bean filled tortilla topped with melted cheese, eggs (poached or scrambled), toast, sour cream and salsa. If anything demands another visit, it’s this.

76 Royal Hill, SE10 8RT, 020 8691 7240,

5 | The Comedy Club: Up The Creek
Everyone loves a laugh – and in London's longest established comedy club, they come thicker and faster than ever. Founded by the late comedian Malcolm Hardee, Up The Creek has solidified its reputation as the quintessential club to visit for any comedy-lover or aspiring comedian having played host to the crème de la crème of the British circuit (Jack Dee, Russell Brand, Jon Richardson, to name but a few). Across the road from Cutty Sark DLR station, set aside a night and visit this beloved venue – but be warned: the after parties that follow Saturday's comedy shows are renowned for being one of the city's wilder nights out.

302 Creek Road, SE10 9SW, 020 8858 4581,

6 | The Wine Bar: Davy’s Wine Vaults

A visit to Davy's Wine Vaults is mandatory for anyone who likes a tipple. With over 100 wines on offer, this intimate venue is inviting for amateur and connoisseur alike. Not sure what to have? Share your concern and the staff will assist you find a bottle you'll be adding to your next Christmas list. Don't forget to enter The Cooperage, a subterranean cocktail bar hidden in the cellars below. The flickering candlelight and jazz music combine to make a trip to Davy's a unique experience. Once down there, look for the sealed metal door: it's rumoured to shut out an original brewing room from the 1800s – and if you get too drunk, don't worry: the floors were sloped before you arrived. 

161 Greenwich High Road, SE10 8JA, 0208 858 7204,

7 | The Japanese Café: Zaibatsu

We bet you never knew that Zaibatsu is a term that refers to Japanese conglomerates whose influence once gave them control over significant parts of their economy up until World War II. We also bet you never knew about Zaibatsu – the frankly more interesting Greenwich eatery. Hidden in plain sight on the traffic-riddled Trafalgar Road, you'd be mistaken for not having noticed this locale before. The good news is you won't forget about it. Offering a wide variety of Japanese fusion dishes, including sashimi, noodles and tempura, it's the authentic sushi which will beckon your return. If it's impressive cost-effective Japanese food you're hunting for, set an evening aside for Zaibatsu.

96 Trafalgar Road, SE10 9UW, 020 8858 9317,

8 | The Post-Game Pint: The Vanbrugh

Billed as Greenwich's "best kept secret," this local, situated on the outskirts of the borough in a residential area between Maze Hill and Westcombe Park rail stations, boasts many reasons for a pop-in. A refreshingly bare interior is complemented by the lawned garden you know is fit to bursting come summertime. With a great range of Meantime beer on tap and all Sky Sports channels at your feet, venturing to The Vanbrugh would be worth your time. If you're wanting food, just be sure to book in advance – the three high-quality courses for £15 has rightfully picked up attention from the locals.

91 Colomb Street, SE10 9EZ, 020 8305 1007,

9 | The European Influence: Inside

Inside could well be one of the greatest neighbourhood restaurants in London. Now in its 15th year of business, chefs Guys Awford and Brian Sargeant have ensured the ever-changing menu served in a vibrant yet intimate setting has kept the customer's satisfied. The running theme across the dishes? A modern day European flourish. The Kentish lamb with chickpea, broad bean, feta, cumin and harissa sauce is worth a look, while the slightly more expensive grilled Hereford rib eye, fondant potato, shallot marmalade with carrot & wholegrain mustard puree also deserves your time.

If you happen to be further afield in London's South East, another European restaurant you'd be foolish to ignore is Greek fixture, Nicos.  

19 Greenwich South Street, SE10 8NW, 020 8265 5060,

10 | The Local Hotspot: Greenwich Market

A trip to Greenwich is made even more worthy by its historic Market. Weave between the 120 stalls and you're certain to find something that takes your shine (and money): antiques for the parents, jewellery for the girlfriend – not to mention a whole array of special interest stalls for that friend who loves board games – all open from Thursday to Sunday. It's the food that proves most tantalising, however. The local cuisine of almost every country can be found on this World Heritage site (Victus and Bibo's lamb and halloumi wrap is a favourite, while the Brazilian Churros for dessert will sort you out) and the surrounding bars will keep you entertained when that sit-down is required. Thought you hated shopping? Not here you won't.

Greenwich Market, SE10 9HZ,


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