Where To Eat In SE18
Please check back in on this page from time to time because I’ll add to it as more pubs, restaurants, and cafes move in.
Blue Nile Café, 73 Woolwich New Road
This Eritrean-Italian restaurant is brilliant. Woolwich has been waiting a long time for a place like this. We deserve it, and we’ve embraced it. The food is tasty and aromatic, the décor is a beautifully restored 1935 butcher’s shop, and owner Shewa and her son Daniel are wonderful hosts. If you’re new to Eritrean cuisine they will guide you through the menu. Lots of dishes are gluten-free, and there are plenty of vegetarian options as well as luscious meaty stews. Please see my post on Blue Nile. To top everything off, Ottolenghi loves it too!
Con Gusto, 54 Number One Street, Royal Arsenal
I’m in love with this place. It’s what I’ve long been hoping for: an intimate Italian restaurant with an ever-changing menu and a fabulous wine list. The menu changes every month, which means ingredients and dishes are season-appropriate. The wine list is well worth exploring, bottle by bottle, because it will take you to some wineries you may not have heard about, unless you’ve travelled in Italy. We’ve tried Col di Bacche’s Morellino di Scansano (a Tuscan red) and Cantina Zaccagnini’s Montepulciano D’Abruzzo (a red from Abruzzo). The food is amazing: traditional Italian flavours, some robust, some subtle, all executed with a contemporary twist. Please see my review for more details.
The Red Lion, 6 Red Lion Place, Shooters Hill
This pub half way up Shooters Hill used to be a typical Southeast London boozer. No food, no wine, but a friendly atmosphere and plenty of character. Happily, it has kept the latter two traits, and added a very good menu and wine and real ale selection to the mix. What’s more, its recent refurbishment has preserved its village-pub ambience while giving it the freshen up it needed. The menu offers pub standards like burgers and fish and chips, as well as tasty snacking plates such as pan-fried chorizo glazed with balsamic vinegar and honey, and sweet chilli halloumi. The stand-out dish for me is the slow-cooked pork belly. Get in my belly. In the summer months, the beer garden out the back comes into its own. Follow The Red Lion on Twitter and Instagram at @theredlionse18 for news about special deals and events or go to http://www.theredlionwoolwich.co.uk
Piri Hill, Shooters Hill (corner of Red Lion Lane)
When you order one of Piri Hill’s specials, they’ll ask you whether you want it mild, medium, hot, or extra hot. Now, we rate ourselves when it comes to coping with a bit of zing, so when we ordered our Luxury Lorenzo the other night we confidently settled on hot. Pow! It was bloody lovely, but boy did it pack a punch! In case you’re wondering, the Luxury Lorenzo involves tender chicken pieces in a creamy piri piri sauce, served with rice. This place does much more than chicken, however. Prawns, lamb, and sea bass are served in a variety of tempting ways, and there is plenty of choice for vegetarians. There are also burgers, pittas, salads, and desserts, and a separate menu for the ankle biters. Pop yourself on the 89, 486 or 122 bus and get your piri piri on.
Clockjack, 79 Powis Street.
Clockjack has come to Woolwich fresh from Soho, and is to be admired for making the leap southeast. Its speciality is rotisserie chicken, and those chooks are delicious. This place is fun, and it’s doing the important job of bringing some life to the far end of Powis Street. With its cocktail menu and wine list and funky interior, it’s ideal to visit with a group of mates. Get stuck into the crispy chicken wings, with a variety of sauces to choose from, and enjoy a burger or half a chicken for mains with a side of grilled corn or sweet potato wedges. This is fuss-free comfort food with the added glamour of a mojito or two. I can recommend the red pepper stuffed with feta cheese. Follow Clockjack on Twitter @ClockjackWlwich or Instagram at clockjack_woolwich
Woolwich Equitable, General Gordon Square
This long-anticipated Antic pub opened in late October 2014, and quickly became a hit with locals and those from further afield. I’ve seen people from Charlton in there, and hipsters. That’s right, hipsters! The pub has a delicious bar and dinner menu, and also does a lovely Sunday roast. I’ve had the burger, the fish and chips, and the risotto, and all have hit the spot. Drinks are slightly cheaper than local rival, the Dial Arch. The folk who run the pub have wasted no time organising quiz nights, live music, and other special evenings (New Years Eve was a corker). Equitable gets everything right (except the lighting, which is still too white and bright). Follow @TheWoolwichPub.
Taproom, Royal Arsenal (near the little Tesco)
First they made us a brewery, and now they’ve created a bar in which to enjoy the hoppy fruits of their labours. Is there no stopping the energetic Hop Stuff crew? (We hope not!). Apart from its own, Taproom stocks a carefully selected range of other microbrewery ales and the house wine is from Biddendens in Kent. Food includes bar snacks like Scotch eggs and cured meat/cheese platters but it’s all about the freshly-made pizzas. They are superb. I’m planning to work my way through the list, and I suggest you do the same. Follow @TaproomSE18
Cornerstone Café, The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich
Cornerstone’s décor, service, food, and coffee combine in a casual yet sophisticated fashion (please see my review of Cornerstone for more) and its attention to detail is reassuring. There are weekend papers strewn about to share, scrumptious condiments from Stokes Sauces (the brown sauce is miles better than HP and locally made), and clever lighting that respects the original building while casting a subtle, yet cheerful, glow. My brunch favourite is sourdough toast topped with avocado salsa, served with chorizo and poached eggs. Follow @CornerstoneRA.
Koffees And Kream, 25 Calderwood Street
I reckon the best spot to sit in this café-restaurant is about halfway back, facing the street. You can admire the eclectic interior and the beautiful heritage buildings opposite while you peruse the comprehensive menu. There is literally something for everyone. The breakfast choices are almost as limitless as Outer Space, and there are jacket potatoes, pies, seafood dishes, salads, burgers, omelettes, sandwiches, pasta dishes, desserts and much more. I love the Mediterranean breakfast of eggs, spicy sausage, feta, olives, halloumi (a salty Cypriot cheese), grilled tomato, and fresh tomato and cucumber, served with soft white bread. The owner, Raif, originally hails from Cyprus, and I think it’s great that he’s included this dish on the menu. The daily specials are always enticing, too. I recently had grilled prawns and calamari with salad (pictured) and it was fabulous. The coffee is very good and the cafe is licensed. Follow @koffeesandkream and also @kksafterdark for updates on music/comedy nights at the café on the last Friday of every month. KKs now opens for dinner and offers a fabulous Turkish grill-inspired menu. It also delivers. Follow @KKsCafeBarGrill for more info. For more details see my review.
Plumstead Pantry, 16 Warwick Terrace
What started as a pop-up has now become permanent, and a recent refurbishment has really lifted this café-restaurant. Plumstead Pantry is becoming one of my very favourite places to have brunch and I can’t wait to check it out for dinner. It’s also now licensed and does a great espresso martini I’ve heard. Ashley and Julia are making magic happen up there on the fringe of Plumstead Common. Do go and see. Follow @PlumPantry and please read my review.
Curry Asia, 40 Thomas Street, Woolwich
Curry Asia continues to please. It’s a cosy and welcoming restaurant that’s been serving up traditional Indian and Bangladeshi dishes since 1962. Some curries are subtle, delicate, and aromatic. The madras and vindaloo, however, will knock ya bloody socks off. I’ve dined here about 40 times over the last few years and have never had anything but a great night. Please see my post on Curry Asia.
Dial Arch, The Royal Arsenal
This Youngs pub is cosy in winter and sun-drenched in summer. Its a lovely spot to while away some hours, whatever the weather. It has a generous wine list and a reasonable range of beers on tap. I haven’t eaten there much lately, but I can vouch for the pizzas, they’re excellent. Follow @DialArch on Twitter for updates on menu specials, live music, ale/cider promos, and comedy and quiz nights.
Favourite Inn, 12 Spray Street, Woolwich
Favourite Inn offers all the Anglo-Chinese standards and does them with aplomb. Chicken with lemon sauce, Singapore fried rice, beef and black bean sauce. I order the same thing every time I go, because I can’t bear the thought of missing out on my king prawns with onions, ginger, and garlic. Taking away is much cheaper than eating in. The dine-in ambience is a bit Kenny G and twinkly lights, but pleasant and cosy enough. These guys have been serving tasty fare to Woolwich for years, and are always reliable.
Viet Baguette, 17 Anglesea Road
Formerly known as An, Viet Baguette has moved around the corner into Anglesea Road and is definitely worth seeking out. The interior is lovely, the lighting is much more subtle than the glaring bulbs of An, and there are loos! The food is as good as ever. The summer rolls are filled with crisp, crunchy greens and succulent prawns and come with a nutty dipping sauce The spring rolls are similarly well-stuffed and tasty. Main dishes include barbecued chicken and grilled pork, served with rice or glass noodles and salad. I had a bowl of comforting pho while suffering from a winter cold, and I think it helped. I certainly felt better. You can add extra chilli to suit your own tolerance levels. An is a fantastic option for takeaway, too.
City View, Shooters Hill Post-16 Campus, Red Lion Lane
I’ve reviewed this training restaurant elsewhere (see my post on Fine Dining SE18 Style) but it also belongs here. The excellent food is prepared by enthusiastic students who are training to be chefs. They hold fine dining nights and do an impressive lunch menu on several weekdays during term. The restaurant itself is a welcoming and pleasant room with great views over Woolwich, Charlton, and beyond to Canary Wharf and central London. Hop onto the restaurant’s website for information about opening times and menus, at http://www.shootershill.ac.uk/restaurant.
Woolwich Coffee Lounge, General Gordon Square (Equitable building)
One of life’s simple pleasures is sitting in the Coffee Lounge window and watching the world go by on General Gordon Square. These guys do decent coffee and offer an enticing range of toasted sarnies, baguettes, bagels, and sweet treats. You can also plug your laptop in and get some work done. A lovely touch is the notice board displaying all things local, and the album containing pictures of the Woolwich Wall, which existed for a while after the riots and was filled with locals’ musings and messages, until the council pulled it down. A gelato counter is a more recent addition.
Kailash Momo, 79 Woolwich New Road
The momos in this Tibetan bolt-hole are lovely, tender parcels of spicy joy. Kailash Momo is worth a visit for these alone. When we went we also had an unusual but tasty soup flavoured with sliced pork and blue cheese. I haven’t been here for a few years, but I note that it’s always busy so that’s a good sign. I’d love to see it tone down the bright lighting a bit, but hey.
The Great Harry, Wellington Street, Woolwich
Destroyed during the riots, this Wetherspoons pub was rebuilt and reopened in 2013: a veritable Phoenix rising from the ashes. The food is decent, typical ‘Spoons fare, and the ambience is lively. It is what it is, inexpensive fare to stop you from getting too pissed, and I quite like it for its honest mediocrity. Follow the pub on Twitter @GreatHarryJDW for updates on booze deals.The Queen’s Diner, 11 Herbert Road, Woolwich/Plumstead
I doubt that the Queen has ever dined at this greasy spoon, located up the hill from Woolwich, on Herbert Road. But if she did, she’d find a clean and cheerful establishment serving up the usual mind-boggling combinations of eggs, bacon, beans, bacon, chips, sausages, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, and bacon, and chips and chips and chips. All washed down with big mugs of tea (with the teabag left in) and piles of buttered white toast. The breakfast baguette is particularly fine, light and buttery and filled with egg, bacon, and sliced sausage for under £4.
Kebab Kingdom, 19 Anglesea Road, Woolwich
I’ve never been in here sober, obviously. The boys who work (long hours) at the coalface of Kebab Kingdom must think the world is filled with mad, giggling, tottering, loud-talking people who take their main meal of the day at 2am. The chicken doners are GOOD. Order a small; it will give you everything you need at that hour, topped with a lovely crunchy chilli.