Monday, August 2, 2010

Ahoy Sailor: The Ship

The glaring differences between a pub that serves food and a 'gastropub' are hard to miss. Irrespective of whether the pub would rate itself in the former or latter category, only the food can tell.

Some pubs have that special something, that magic touch that differentiates a microwaved pile of slop from a plate of flavoursome goodness. And some pubs dont. The Flora Sandes Weatherspoons in Thornton Heath for example, where I found a rotting bluebottle in my lasagne, is, unsurprisingly, a pub that doesn't have it.

The Ship, on the other hand, is an excellent example of a pub that does. I've been to this wonderfully eclectic find on the river three times now and each time has cemented my belief that this is a pub that has the gastro touch, and has gained my eternal devotion for it.

The first time was a beautifully sunny day where we lounged on the tucked away restaurant patio whilst sipping on thirst-quenching Pimms and embarking on an epicurean adventure that left us popping out our bikinis for the pool party later that day (rah rah rah).

I can't think of many pubs more suited to summer days, when the sun is shining and you're ensconsed in one of their several outdoor areas, if you're lucky looking over the Thames. But even on those oh-to-frequent gloomy days, there's ample seating space inside for a cosy night.

The second time, well, they adventurously invited a rabble of bloggers to try a few new dishes soon to debut on their ever-changing seasonal menu. I don't want to give the whole game away, but think rather exciting appearances from dishes including carpaccio of Mackerel with Anchovy fritter, basil sorbet and tomato foam. Initially slightly sceptical about the suitability of mackerel for the task, it was to become one of my favourite dishes of the evening - a bud-awakening combination of light but punchy flavours.

Other personal favourites included the Seared Scallops with Black Pudding, Citrus Braised Baby Gem, Hazlenut and Courgette Salad for starters.

Mains wise it was a tie-break between the Loin of Rabbit with Dublin Bay Prawns, Tarragon Mousse, Creamed Leeks and Peas with Sauteed Girolle Mushrooms and the Cornfed Chicken and Crimini Mushroom Pie with a truffled celeriac puree. Memories of the plump, moist hunks of chicken submerged in the mushroom sauce is enough to make my mouth water. And yes, it's every bit as porno as it sounds.

Desserts ranged from the unusual (Lime pannacotta) to time-old favourites (sticky toffee pudding) with a few interesting stops in between (pineapple tart tatin with star anise).

But it didn't stop there. One of the beauties about The Ship is that yes, it's a pub and it's a restaurant but essentially it's also a very friendly local where there's always something going on, the people working there are friendly and you're never short of a few people to chat to (track down Oisin, Emma and Charlie for some quality banter). Live Irish music on a Tuesday night - hell yes. In fact, that pretty much sums up my attitude to this fantastic find where I anticipate I'll spend far too much time in the coming months....


Hugh Wright said...

Gosh who *are* those handsome men in your photos? Particularly the dishy sailor wearing a plate for a hat? ;-)

Agree wholeheartedly that The Ship is a real find; fantastic food, lovely atmosphere & location and staff who really care and want you to be there. Let me know when you're going back - we'll join you!

Kavey said...

Ha, I got confused for the first moment, I thought I'd opened your blog, then wondered if it was Hugh's, mentally checked, no it's Julianna's and then read on about the blogger event!

Keep hearing good things about this place..

Food Urchin said...

It's a shame that I missed this event and a shame that the Ship is way out yonder in Wandsworth, a little bit of a trek for this Essex boy.

But after reading this, I will endeavor to get over there.

One day soon.

Julianna Barnaby said...

Hugh, I dont know. I imagine they are models for some poncy designer label or something. At least they were kind enough to pose for the camera. We should definitely go back. Next week? Kavey, Food Urchin are you game? It's a trek, but like the L'Oreal girls, it's worth it *tosses hair and pouts lips*

Ship Wandsworth said...

Lovely post Julianna thank you so much. Kavey, Food Urchin get in touch with Emma we'd be delighted to look after you. Oisin

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