Grubless Pub Food

I’d been hearing rumours for some time, then had it confirmed that Youngs have taken over the Cutty Sark Pub.

Now, I’ve always been quite fond of the Cutty Sark – it’s a fabulous place to sit outside on a summer’s afternoon and watch the water-world go by, a cosy place to snuggle in the winter when the weather’s like, well, like the sort we’ve got at the moment. And I like the food – big plates of, how shall we put this, unpretentious pub grub.

I’m also curious to know what the new look is like, not least because I like the old look – the giant mis-matched tables upstairs, the giant half-barrels downstairs that, although not particularly authentic – I doubt it’s something Hilary Peters would remember from the 60s – feels right.

I know that they’ve been doing some refurbishing, but I haven’t been yet so I don’t know what, if anything, they’ve done to the place.

But I’m rather disturbed by an email I got yesterday from John. He, like myself, likes the place “for various reasons – great view from the first floor, decent selection of drinks, good food, friendly staff, even friendlier customers, and they welcome pooches of all varieties.”

He and ‘His Nibs’ (can’t work out if His Nibs is a partner or the dog…) went on Sunday with a couple of friends, hoping to get a nice Sunday Roast but discovered that Youngs have installed some new ‘systems.’

They now only serve food in what is known as the ‘first floor restaurant.’ To bag a table on Sunday you have make a reservation in advance – and they don’t welcome dogs upstairs.

No dogs in a restaurant? Fair enough, seems like a pretty easy fix – John and Co. could just have the food on the ground floor. They didn’t need anything fancy. “Can’t we just order some pub food downstairs?” he asked.

“Sorry, we can’t do that – we don’t do pub food anymore, only nice restaurant food” – replied the poor girl left to fend off the upset customers.

Not wishing to tie up poor old Nibs (or the dog) outside, John was unable to discover whether this is indeed, true and the new posh food is indeed, nice.

I guess the Pelton Arms, Plume of Feathers and Vanbrugh will be seeing even more droves if there’s only smart dining (with, I assume, matching prices) allowed at the Cutty Sark.

But I haven’t been there myself yet. I still don’t know if they still have the lovely old mistmatched tables and chairs, half-barrels or sightly cranky woodwork. I don’t know whether you really do need to book a table for the nice restaurant food or whether it is actually nice.

Anyone else been since the take over? I could do with some opinions here.


the attachments to this post:

Cutty Sark pub
Cutty Sark pub


21 Comments to “Grubless Pub Food”

  1. Dan says:

    I was never that enamoured with the food at the Cutty Sark. It was still over priced for what you got, especially when compared with the great fare served up at the Pelton round the corner.

    Still, I resent the fact that people are barred from having a spot of lunch on the picnic tables outside in summer, especially if accompanied by dogs or children. I’m pretty sure Youngs will reverse this daft policy when the weather improves and they get a decent handle on what Greenwich folk actually want, as opposed to what Youngs think we want.

  2. Paul says:

    There has to be an interesting saga behind this; back in 2010, Morden College, who own the building, applied to rebuild much of it, and were turned down – partly because the pub’s landlord spoke in opposition to the plans. So it looks like he’s been jettisoned.

    Altho the Tolly still has a lot to recommend it, I’m sad that Young’s have taken over the Cutty Sark. The current company have gone the modern route of concentrating on ‘branding’ and ‘marketing’ and have finally sold off all their historic brewing interests. Hence the term Young’s Brewery now means absolutely nothing.

  3. Peter says:

    Having tried (half heartedly) and failed to get into the Pelton to see Squeze a couple of wednesdays ago, me and my girlfriend repaired to the Cutty and ended up taking part in their fun weekly quiz. I thought they had made a good job of the refurb and the staff were friendly enough.

    Last week we went again to the quiz having enjoyed it the first time, with two friends and their dog. We sat downstairs and food was happily served there. So, maybe that is a Sunday rule? I’ve not eaten there yet but my friends said what they had was good.

  4. Katja says:

    I like some things with the “new” Cutty Sark e.g. hot water bottles for people sitting outside, lanterns on outside tables, Aspall Cider now on tap and renovated loos, but not the fact that food is not served downstairs.

    By the way, doggies are not welcomed in Pelton Arms, which a shame as it is otherwise fantastic pub and has lovely Sunday roast.

  5. Hot water bottles for people outside? COOL! I was impressed recently when I refused one of those gas-heater things outside of the Gun (it feels wrong that the entire universe has to be heated just because I choose to sit outside) and they not only ‘got’ why I didn’t want a heater but brought me a blanket. Hot water bottles also good.

  6. Scott says:

    I have eaten there twice now since Youngs took over and I can say the food has improved quite a bit. I to found the old food overpriced for what it was, ie pub stodge. The new prices are actually pretty reasonable given the location, table service and the quality.

    Yes the barrel seats have gone but most of the mismatched furniture remains. They have added old lamp shades (ala the Peleton) and other little touches such as flower pots on the tables, loads of big candles in the fire place etc but otherwise you won’t know the difference.

    Beer list has improved, finally we have Meantime there.

    As for the booking a table in the restaurant bit….

    I voiced my dislike of this new, restaurant in a pub thing on twitter to the new landlord and thought that it would be a good thing. So basically to sit in the best seats in the house, ie upstairs in the bay window you must be eating food, you don’t need to book but it helps like any restaurant. Both times I have been we have seen people leave as there is now where to sit and have a drink. Plenty of tables available though, but you must be having food. I saw one couple tell the waiter (yes there are waiters now) that they will be having food only to look at the menu for an hour, have a couple of pints and leave.

    On opening night the restaurant area was all but deserted and last Friday as well. The rest of the pub is quite busy. I’m sure they will persist to keep drinkers away from this area until they realise people are going elsewhere. If they refuse to serve food outside in summer they may as well give up now as clearly they don’t know what customers of the Cutty want.

    Don’t get me wrong here, I like the changes, just not the bit about a food only area.

  7. Dave says:

    I was in the Cutty Sark on Saturday evening with four friends, and stayed for more than hour upstairs drinking, but we were not pressured to order food nor asked to move downstairs

  8. BoneyBoy says:

    I had weekday lunch there soon after it re opened under Young’s management. They were happy to serve food downstairs. I didn’t try upstairs as a party of 20 was booked in. Food was ok, but about £1 more than similar food in the Tolly and £2 more than the Pelton.

  9. SF says:

    What’s the ale selection like? The Young’s pub in Woolwich has about 5 on tap but they always seem to be exactly the same style (lightish 4% beers) and taste pretty much the same. What a waste of all the taps. A decent dark beer such as a porter, stout or mild wouldn’t go amiss there. I know someone above said meantime is at the cutty but if I wanted one I could go round the corner, and their drinks are normally very expensive. In fact I was talking to a landlord elsewhere recently bemoaning Meantime as the most greedy with constant price rises as well as other practices he didn’t like. Not a surprise given their antics over the olympics.

    I like the tolly though so hopefully this one is like that.

  10. Benedict says:

    I will only go if they have a pub cat…..

  11. Pam says:

    Sorry to be dense but what is the Tolly that everyone likes so much.?

    I also confirm Pelton do not allow dogs.

  12. Geoff says:

    Have eaten there on two of the last three Sundays – first time we didn’t realise that Youngs had taken them over, nor that it was their “opening” day. On both occasions we were able to get a table without booking ahead, and the staff were very keen and attentive – and even helped us upstairs with our pushchair. Food was pretty good – though cannot compare to the old pub as I’d only had drinks in there previously (and always through the beer was a bit hit and miss). They sell a couple of Youngs beers in there and also a Meantine – though at more than £4.50 a pint that one is a tad steep. All in all though, quite a nice experience – more restaurant than pub now, but at least they are only applying that upstairs – as some people still just like to go into a pub for a few beers and not have some food!

  13. Pam – The Tolly is the Richard I on Royal Hill, so named because it used to be the only Tolly Cobbold house in the area. The beer is long gone, but the name remains.

  14. Char says:

    I went a couple of Sunday’s ago for a drink and while it was lovely and cosy, we only stayed for one due to the lack of seats because as stated above the first floor was diners only.

    And I saw lots of others arrive then leave without getting a drink. Perhaps this is a Sunday or weekend only thing, but I did find it a bit of an irritation as i’m of an age where I like to sit down while I drink!

  15. Mike says:

    You should try some of the rugged pubs in Akron, Ohio, sometime! Bleeechhhh!!

  16. Mike says:

    We went last Sunday and it was packed downstairs, so we went to the first floor only to be told it was for diners only, except there were not many diners! The conceded to let us sit until I noticed them showing people to the 2nd floor room (which is meant as function room so not generally open) so we went up there and got a bay window seat with a fantastic view! Ask to go up there if you cant sit on the first floor

  17. Good tip Mike – I’ve never been up there!

  18. Noel says:

    I’ll be well miffed if they don’t sell food outside in the summer. The beer there has never been great tho, but it’s all about sitting on the terrace in the sun…

  19. Kratch says:

    I have to say, that while I agree the food was overpriced, and not that brilliant, the ONLY reason we went was so we could order food for ourselves and our children, and sit outside, while the kids played by the anchor. If they don’t serve food to customers downstairs, they’ll have lost our custom, and the custom of many of our friends, who love it for having been a very child-friendly place to sit outside and enjoy the view. What a shame… Plume of Feathers here we come.

  20. Elizabeth says:

    I went to the Cutty Sark for lunch on Sunday but they turned me away because I had my dog with me. I was told this was only a temporary measure whilst the new management was establishing their new processes. Still it was very annoying and has put me off going back there.

  21. Finsbury says:

    Have heard a rumour the Tolly might be getting the gastropub treatment in the New Year… don’t know how true this is but would be a great shame if it did….