Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published October 15th 2013
Stay for Lunch, Leave for Pudding
The Old Thameside Inn
Situated next to the River Thames, directly opposite the Golden Hinde, and besides the remains of Winchester Palace, The Old Thameside Inn has perfect views all round. Having once been a spice house, it was converted into a pub in the 1980s.
Dark carpeting, Tudor beams, and ancient brickwork gives the Inn a traditional feel and friendly atmosphere. What most visitors are going to be interested in, however, is the dining experience. Well I can confirm that that's good too. Owned by Nicholson's Brewery, The Old Thameside Inn sells an eclectic range of real ales, sophisticated pub grub, and provides Sky Sports entertainment in the downstairs cellar bar.
View of the Thames from the window.
My dad and I had just finished our tour of the Golden Hinde when we were enticed by the £8 lunch meal deal advertised outside the front door. Although it was too wet to sit outside, we managed to get the best seats in the house, next to the large sit-in windowsill. Earlier, I had seen a young family sitting here, and it was perfect for their toddler, who loved climb around.
Scampi & Prawns
Having missed out on his usual Sunday fish & chips Dad settled for a scampi & king prawn lunch, served with skin on chips, tartar sauce, and their house ale (kids can have a draught soft drink). The shrimp and prawns came lightly battered and made a good lunch size portion that is suitable for both adults and children.
Other lunchtime items were a selection of sandwiches, sausage & mash, pulled beef pudding, lamb meatballs, and glazed chicken. These are also available as bigger portions on the dinner menu, along with oven baked vegetarian pancakes, pork belly, gammon & eggs, and steak & chips.
I decided to go for a crayfish cocktail appetiser with a side dish of onion rings. The appetisers are between £4.95-£6.95 for a single person, but I was rather confused by the pricing of the side dishes. Inside the menu it states that onion rings are £2.95, but on the back, they are classified as 'bar snacks' and only cost £2.50. I'm not sure if there is a difference between the two, and since Dad had to go up to the bar to order, I'm not sure which one we ended up paying for.
I was expecting the cocktail to come in a glass, but instead it was presented on a plate with a bed of salad leaves, malted bread, and gazpacho mayonnaise (I thought that was a soup? *shrugs*). The crayfish was gorgeous, and I enjoyed the surprise of finding edame beans and pomegranate seeds hiding in my salad. I was not, however, blown away by the bread. I classify the quality of bread on whether it needs anything to go with it. Good bread should stand well on its own, but this was dry and needed butter. Butter was provided, but it was so hard, it was impossible to spread.
The onion rings were as delicious as the crayfish. They were lightly battered and very soft, rather than the typical crunchy rings you get at fast food joints. Here the onions were the star attraction, not the oil they were fried in. Juicy, succulent, and warm, a refreshing dip of sour cream made them all the better.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
With lots of pretty pictures, the menu is very good at tempting you. Trying to make up my mind on what to have for pudding, the picture of their warm chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream ultimately sealed the deal. Dad opted for sticky toffee pudding, both of which were £4.95.
Unfortunately looks can be deceiving. The menu described the brownie as soft and gooey; it was anything but. Hard as a brick, dry as a dessert, and it tasted burnt as well. Dad's sticky toffee was dry too, but at least he could slice into it.
To finish on a positive not, the ice cream was outstanding, and saved the brownie from being inedible, with some much needed moisture. Final verdict. Go for the views, the atmosphere, and the meal. Go home for dessert.