British restaurant in Greenwich perfect for dinner before attending the O2 Arena.
Category : Bar, Restaurant
| Cuisine : British, Modern European
Address : PENINSULA SQUARE , GREENWICH PENINSULA , London, SE10 0SQ, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.craft-london.co.uk/
Opening Times : Lunch Wed-Sat; Dinner Mon-Sat; Bar Mon-Sat 5pm-1am
Closest Tube : North Greenwich
Has there ever been a restaurant in London as ambitious as Craft? Very possibly not. First off, it‘s been launched in an area which was hitherto a culinary hinterland. Sure, Pensinsula Square has a few grace notes such as Brooklyn Bowl and Five Guys, but for every one of those there are two off-key clinkers like Harvester or All Bar One. Secondly, the scale of this project borders on the vainglorious. What other restaurant in the Smoke smokes its own fish, maintains its own honey-producing beehives, cures its own meat, ferments its own vegetables, most of which comes from its own gardens? Not many. But for all that has been ventured, what has been gained?
The origin story of Craft begins with Stevie Parle and Tom Dixon. The upstart restaurateur was approached by the prominent interior designer and asked if he‘d want to contribute to the redevelopment of the Greenwich Peninsula. Designed by Dixon, the restaurant is housed in a three-story, ovoid glass and steel structure offering 360 degree views that take in the O2, the Emirates Aerial Tram and the much more bucolic meadows, which have been planted by celebrated gardener Alys Fowler. There‘s a fusion of country and city here that extends to the kitchen work - where Mr Parle zeroes in on local producers and seasonality.
On a Sunday evening we enjoyed a cocktail before dinner and watched tweeny Olly Murs fans filter into the Millennium Dome whilst sipping coffee-infused bourbon and golden syrup on the rocks. It wasn‘t long until we were led downstairs to our table, perched above the meadows. A very affable waitress offered us snacks to complement our glasses of Albarinho - smoked cod‘s roe on an oat crisp with radishes was a crunchy, saline appetite stimulant. Three oysters were topped with powdered cucumber, borage and rhubarb.
We switched to SW6 Chardonnay, produced in Chiswick, which was full-bodied enough to balance smoked and grilled eel with treacle, malt vinegar and brine-pickled leek. The fish evinced a huge waft of smoke yet retained its soft, subtle characteristics. A main course of wood grilled scallops with a deep-fried anchovy fritter, flash-fried sage leaf, wood sorrel and cauliflower was a beaut, as was monkfish wrapped in lardo before being wood-fired on the plancha and served with garden fresh asparagus. We wrapped things up with two delicious desserts, a pudding of chocolate, coffee and raw cream as well as baked nutmeg spelt pudding with pickled Japanese roses.
Parle has done a fine job here, his talents have lived up to his lofty aims, and he‘s put together a crack team to realise them. Craft bodes well for the area. It looks likely that it will receive the redevelopment it deserves.