Have you ever had one of those Sundays where you’re desperate to “go out” but don’t have any real set plans? You know there are good places out there that you still haven’t visited yet, but somehow the weather’s not that great, your energy’s not that high and besides – you’re hungry?
That was us last weekend. I like to go out and do stuff but I’m not always quite as wired and targetted as I could be. “Let’s go and find a nice country pub we’ve not already been to,” we said, and set off with no plan at all in our heads.
This is always a bad thing. With theoretically all the time in the world, I reject places on the stupidest grounds. One pub is too noisy-looking, another is too rural. The next is too urban; I don’t care for the windows-or the hanging baskets-or the 4x4s- or the local herberts in another. “But do they do food?” I whine about the next, “Yes, but it’s family fun day” about the next (something I avoid at all costs.) And the weird thing is that the hungrier I get, the more pointlessly fussy I become.
We drove round and round – pretty much literally in circles until we had virtually decided to just come back to Greenwich or Blackheath, when it occurred to us to try the pub at Danson House
Danson Stables are just that – the old stable block, built just after 1800 from the remains of one of the wings of the house which had been demolished, all set in Capability Brown gardens – turned into a really not-bad-at-all pub. It’s kept the compartmentalised feel – there are lots of different rooms so that it feels quite nice and cosy – it’s a nice balance between bright and modern and traditional homely and a pleasant way to spend a lunchtime.
I get the feeling that this used to be a chain – there is something ‘corporate’ about the signage – but there is absolutely no indication of any kind of name, so I’m wondering whether it has been taken back into private ownership, just keeping the signs. A website I found said it was Bass, but it seemed out of date and I can’t find anything about it anywhere else. I asked a waitress and she didn’t know – a sure sign that there isn’t any big corporate owner, I’d have said.
The food is predictable pub grub, but no less enjoyable for it. The portions are large – almost too large – and generally well-cooked. The gammon steak was huge and came with so much veg you couldn’t see the plate. I suspect that my linguine had been made several hours beforehand and was the scrapings out of the the bottom of the pan – crispy and oily, but actually I confess I really enjoyed it – even the scrapy-bits. I felt sort of guilty for this since it was all the naughty oily cheesy sundried tomatoey bits and I should have complained – Gordon Ramsay would have had quite a lot to say about it – but frankly however ‘old’ it was, it was actually very yummy. So I have no taste. Shoot me.
There was music but it wasn’t overbearing, the service was friendly and the beer not bad. Generally all good things.
As luck would have it there WAS a family fun day going on in the grounds of Danson House, but the pub itself was large enough to cope and despite there being lots of families it didn’t encroach on us adult drinkers and the balance worked very well. The sheer number of people who had chosen to bring the kids indicates that the child portions are a hit.
I’d say this isn’t a bad place to while away a Sunday lunchtime – just avoid the linguine if you don’t get off on pan-scrapings. Me? I’d have exactly the same thing again…