‘Would you like to sit by the window? It’s a good view,’ said the waiter. Except it was after dark and this stylish brasserie, sitting high up in the National Maritime Museum’s new multi-million pound Sammy Ofer Wing, is brightly lit and Greenwich park is not.
The reflection of ourselves, noses pressed against the glass, wasn’t as charming as the terrace and greenery beyond but the owners have at least given some thought to the interior decor. Polished concrete floors are a neutral base for the muted and appropriately marine blue of the linen and staff uniforms.
The restaurant claims to marry modern British fare with the heritage of its location – it lies 16 seconds west of the Prime Meridian – but provenance is highlighted only occasionally, with starters such as ‘Severn & Wye hot smoked salmon’, and mains simply split as being from England’s coastline, the farm or the field.
A well-selected charcuterie starter was accompanied by lightly pickled gherkins and caperberries and was more than enough for two to share. The restaurant has been open for eight weeks but is still tussling with portion size versus pricing.
An 8oz feather-blade steak was paired with a punchy chimichurri and excellent sides but, at £17.95, seemed pricy for a cheap cut.
At £16.95, a mean portion of mixed grilled fish featured only a small cube of salmon, two fillets of faintly muddy trout and a tangle of watercress. A mackerel fillet was MIA and our exceedingly charming waiter immediately tracked down the error, offering a complimentary dessert without hesitation. One wobbling pana cotta later and all was forgotten.
Such effortlessly gracious service is often the mark of a great restaurant in the making and the enthusiastic staff seem keen to improve their offering.
For now, they should focus on attracting more diners as, despite our countless walks through the park, the unmarked restaurant blends so easily into the museum as to have been invisible even to our trained eyes.