For those of you who remember my blog on staying local, this is on the same theme. I went to the Ship. One of the most well known local pubs in the area. Set on the river, when the sun is out all the outdoor tables, and I assure you there are plenty, are always packed. Get there after 12.30 and you will be standing with your pint on the pavement- absolutely no chance of a river view table. This all comes with an outdoor bar and a barbeque. I know, I've spent enough sunny Sundays there.
Although we have now officially entered spring in London it is still winter weather. So we are inside with the staff adding wood to the fire. I walked in to familiar surroundings to find my two friends sitting there with a drink. Red walls, fire in the middle, specials on boards above the bar. The people, like me, locals. Obviously went home quickly, got changed and decided on a quick drink at the pub-yes quick-it is a Tuesday after all. I went to the bar for another round. The house wine is in the region of £16 per bottle and the average bottle is around £27.
At the bar, the bartender was serving another customer and in spite of my wait when he finished serving, he turned around to me and promised to return in a minute. In that minute, probably more so I, counted at least four of us at the bar waiting to order and no-one in sight to serve us. We were all looking around restlessly hoping to be put out of our misery soon. I mean it's half six in the afternoon, all we want is a beer or a glass of wine.
After a few minutes someone did come to serve us. I asked for a drink and also if I could order some food. Prices for starters ranged from £5.10 to £10.20 for the charcuterie plate. Mains ranged from £11.20 for the beef and lamb burger to £18.35 for the rib-eye steak. I ordered the battered cod and chips times 2 for my friends. For me the shepherds pie which came with mash. As if it could come with anything else! A couple of drinks later, I get up for another round and ask as to the whereabouts of our food. The waitress immediately run to the kitchen, and by the time I got back to the table was she was following me with the food. Obviously, a glitch in the service. Obvious by the fact that the food not only was warm, or even hot. It was extremely hot! I had to pierce holes in my pie and wait for at least 10 minutes before having a bite in fear of burning my tongue (yes I know, it always happens to me). But it was tasteful, the chef added some peas to the mince and it was very well seasoned. Artistically presented on a chopping board with the curly wale on the side. My friends assured me that although initially hot, the battered cod was very good. And it did look good. Crushed peas and fries also.
I have a sweet tooth so inevitably I went to the bar to ask for the dessert menu. This was brought over to us. Not what you would expect from a pub. It included dessert wine, liqueurs and so on. Lovely I know- but I opted for the pub because I want something simple! I don't go to the pub if I'm looking for liqueurs, I will go to one of the Mayfair hotels.
Desserts ranged from a selection of ice creams for £4.05 to desserts priced at £6.10. These varied from the pear and apple crumble with ice cream to sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream. I opted for the less traditional Mille feuille of banana, peanut butter pastry cream and chocolate pecan nuts. My friends shared the ice cream selection, which included 3 scoops. Perfect. Mine arrived and was a grand design which looked more like a deux feuille. The taste, I thought tried to imitate a more traditional banoffee pie. I asked the waiter if the chef was aiming for a modern version. He promised to ask and never came back to me. I still can't understand what the aim of my ''deux'' feuille was..
Don't get me wrong, the ship remains a favourite local. It's just that the food isn't up to par. It's pub food trying a bit too hard. I think all we want to say that you don't need to. We just want our authentic local pub which serves good pub food, we are not looking for anything more. And the more you try and add to it, the more goes wrong. Keep it simple and we will move from besotted to in love once again.
The Ship, 41 Jew's Row, Wandsworth, London. SW18 1TB http://www.theship.co.uk/
Have you been to the Ship recently? Please leave your comments to let us know what you think.