12:06pm Thursday 11th April 2013
AS I took my lonely heart along the banks of Greenwich, I cursed love into the indifferent grey waters.
But then a strange thing happened and it found me – in the unlikely form of a somewhat portly, yet beguilingly made-up pub.
The newly refurbished Cutty Sark tavern is transformed since last I spied here. Age has served it well like the fine Rioja handed across the bar with a seductive smile.
There’s a space for every mood, with snugs paneled off with coloured glass, or painted seafarers’ trunks serving as tables by a wood burner stove.
I tore myself away from the inviting bar – laden with craft beers and ales – and scowled at the romantic Willis Dining Room before climbing two flights of stairs to the Crows Nest to retreat from the world and lick my lovesick wounds.
Alone, with the rounded windows opening out on to The Thames and O2, and with just the company of the hungry gulls wheeling at head-height, I felt oddly at peace.
So 4D was the experience, that when my whopping sandwich arrived, I wondered dreamily whether an off-course salmon had leapt from the river willingly in between the thick malt brown bread slices.
The hot smoked salmon, spinach, beef tomato and herby yoghurt sandwich came to £7.50, and was dealt on a roughly-hewn chopping board, accompanied with a clean limey white wine for £4.85 – my lover is a little pricey, but oh so worth it.
As I sat in my secluded bubble, extending over the water like the bow of the ship, I contemplated her other offerings – with mains ranging from £10 to £20, platters for sharing around £16, or a good old-fashioned bar bite like a scotch egg for £3.50.
Nothing was too much trouble for the cheerful waitress who scampered up and down the beam-heavy stairs to bring me sauces for my feast.
Nautical memorabilia is tastefully scattered about the three-storey pub with subtle décor making me jovial and rendering even the border-line tacky “Bouys” and “Gulls” toilet signs amusing.
As my sore eyes were soothed by the views and the lantern-lit rooms, I pictured myself bedding in like a happy barnacle amongst the framed sailors, compass murals, and ships knots.
I almost hope you will find my sickly infatuation repulsive and not visit, as I am already jealous for the summer crowds that will court my sweet – who is certain to prove a crowd-pleaser.
Maybe I’m just dizzy with misguided passion but I can’t stop thinking about the tide-lapped tavern and plotting my next delightfully date-less drink.
Cutty Sark, 4-6 Ballast Quay, Greenwich, SE10 9PD
How it rates (out of five): ***** (An unpretentious blend of maritime and plain good taste)
Drink **** (Fine range but pricey – a 250ml glass of wine costs £6.50! – but there are deals on to ease drawn purse-strings)
Food ***** (Spot-on sandwiches left me full for the rest of the day)
Atmosphere ***** (Could camp out here for good)
Staff **** (Charming, helpful and informative)
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