316 NEW CROSS ROAD, NEW CROSS,
LONDON, SE14 6AF
The New Cross House is just very nice to sit and have a drink in. It is expensive, but the drink range is excellent and so is the quality of the food. I was sceptical when the old Goldsmiths Tavern was taken over and renovated, fearing the grim, prim spectre of gentrification; and whilst it’s right for the community-minded to be wary, I’m a fair sort, and this pub does have many good qualities, whilst being largely free from pram-wielding horrors. The people behind the New Cross House have turned it into a something really … nice. I’m going to be using the word ‘nice’ a lot in this review, much like the jazz club bloke from The Fast Show. It’s just the word that springs to mind most readily as I write about this place.
Since the take-over, the most obvious change is in décor, with dank cavern replaced by bright surroundings that make excellent use of the large space available, with the pub split between long rows of booths, and a more traditional dining area. The big windows at the front make the place especially bright during the daytime. Combined with the colourful mock-tiling and other ornate trappings, the place looks like the conservatory from some Edwardian Hotel-set crime drama. A place where Poirot has gathered all the suspects at the end in order to reveal the culprit; but, you know, crossed with a pub. The beer garden is also nice; it’s like someone’s big patio, but with a ping-pong table, and an ersatz rustic barn attached at the back.
In the evening the place gets a lot busier, with lots of people coming for dinner, especially for the pizzas, which you can see being cooked in a proper big pizza oven. They come in a variety of imaginative toppings and are available by the slice or whole. There is also a menu’s worth of very good pub grub.
The drinks are where the New Cross House really excels, though; they have arguably the best selection of quality booze in the immediate area- it’s probably a toss-up with the Albert and the Dog & Bell. The choices on tap include Erdinger and Vedett; along with some of the craft beers from Greenwich’s Meantime Brewery: the London Lager, and the fucking gorgeous London Pale Ale, keep it local, and drink it. Bottled beers include Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn Lager, Duvel and Modelo; there is also an excellent selection of wine, and a particularly good choice of whiskies.
Despite being quite pricey, you do get what you pay for. The New Cross House really does have excellent food and drink, and the atmosphere is lively in the evening all week. Considering pubs of this ilk, the place manages to avoid the very worst trappings, whilst offering greater choice to the punter. It’s done-up more than the other pubs in the area, it’s more expensive; it isn’t a terrible departure from the norm, but I would start to worry if more pubs like this popped-up. It would be churlish to say the New Cross House doesn’t offer something very enjoyable, though. It’s all just very nice.