Guest Post: The Pilot Inn, Greenwich Peninsula
The Pilot Inn
Tucked away like a hidden treasure, a short walk from North Greenwich station, we arrived to the recently renovated, and boisterously packed, Pilot Inn on a Friday night. Shown to our room via a low-lit, narrow staircase, each room has a clock hanging from the door, the time cleverly representing the room number. Room 10 revealed to be a modernly decorated, spacious, king-sized room with subdued, delicate lighting, an open emerald green bathroom and views of the financial district’s twinkling towers and the nearby 02. An animal-theme was apparent, featuring richly-hued parrot paintings, hung on a deep purple wall and accompanied by bull and mountain goat adornments.
Downstairs in the bar and restaurant, the Fuller’s brewery establishment was brimming with an unusual clientele – metal heads and post-office drinkers sat surrounded by fashionistas and raucous beer guzzlers. Struggling to gain anyone’s attention in this convergence, we were eventually led to our table. The four-course menu is a class above your usual pub and restaurant offering.
After a slightly disappointing appetiser, things gathered pace with the starters. The Parsnip & Truffle Velouté‘s thick, dense texture and rich parsnip flavour was much enjoyed, with only the fried parsnip garnish a little too oily. The duck in the Salad of Gressingham Duck Breast, was perfectly cooked, with its clementine’s injecting a significant sweet and zesty kick.
Next up was the 12hr Braised Romsey Pork Belly, and it triumphed as a main course, with its presentation more carefully crafted than the London Pride Battered Cod. Tiger prawns resting on deliciously smooth mash was innovative for a pork belly dish, and a delicately placed swirl of crackling provided the best quantity of salted fat you could want. The pork itself was so tender it started to resemble pulled pork. Trying to top that, there was nothing really dazzling gabout the cod, except for its size. Still a fine pub staple, its accompanying triple cooked chips turned out to be quite an oily offering though.
Contemplating whether dessert was an attainable option, the Sticky toffee pudding and Bruleed Coffee & Kahlua Parfait soon showed their merit. For desserts, they were encouragingly light. The pudding, joined by vanilla ice cream, was airy and moist with the brule and honeycomb biscuits a nice addition to the parfait, contributing a joyfully crunchy texture. However an accompanying espresso shot was wasted at a time of the night such as this.
After a comfortable stay in room 10, and a peaceful night’s rest, we revisited the restaurant where breakfast beckoned. We chose a faultless Cumberland sausage sandwich, on home-baked brown bread, and perfect Eggs Royale. The tropical fruit juice is also a must try.
Overall, the Pilot Inn is a guesthouse/pub and restaurant, not a hotel. Regarding accommodation, what they do, they do very well and could even rival some of London’s hotels. However, under the surface, there is clear evidence of its pub roots. The Pilot isn’t really failing in trying to be something it’s not, it’s being true to itself, while adding a little touch of dazzle in the form of its menu and overall detailed and quirky décor – merging retro with eclectic. With a beautifully decorated outdoor garden area also, the Pilot is like a quiet countryside retreat only a stone’s throw from the busy, bustling city.
The Pilot Inn, 68 River Way, Greenwich, SE10 0BE. Nearest Station: North Greenwich