Friday 6 May 2011

The New Cross House

The former Goldsmith's Tavern is set to reopen on Monday in its new incarnation, complete with original moniker, as the New Cross House. From the inside, the only indication that this is the same pub is the fact that the rather distinctive windows at the front remain, and the bar is in the same place. All other remnants of the dark, dingy and dirty interior have been entirely swept away.

I know from my own student days that dark, dingy and dirty can sometimes be the hallmarks of a great pub, and some may mourn the loss of the Goldsmiths Tavern, but New Cross still has plenty of other pubs to fill that particular void.

At a sneak preview last night, a few lucky folk got the chance to view the new interior, try out the ales and food, and chat to the people involved about the refurb and plans for the future.

(All photos by TCoM)

The interior is huge - the entire ground floor has been opened up into the former back room, with a range of seating including raised booths along the side wall interspersed with smaller two and four-seater tables, banquettes, bar stools and some of those scary high tables that I always try and avoid because I don't think they combine very well with alcohol!

The back room has been given new life with two enormous skylights which improve the atmosphere no end. The bar seating extends around the large pizza oven which is built out from the kitchen area at the back, offering a tempting view of those bubbling pizzas.

Original tiling at the front of the room was used to create wallpaper which has been applied very effectively throughout the entire bar, giving it a lovely Victorian feel which combines nicely with the dark wooden bar and mirrored bar shelving.

The yard area outside is the real revelation - what used to be a scruffy shed with uneven concrete flooring and a few ramshackle picnic tables has been transformed into a den-like barn. On the ground floor is a wood-burning stove surrounded by sofas, shabby-chic style tables and chairs, and walls covered with big mirrors, and upstairs is more seating with views over the yard, table football and large lampshades adding a touch of glamour. The building is covered in ivy, giving it even more visual appeal.

Four real ales were on offer - Weasel and Bonobo from the Florence microbrewery, which is part of the Capital Pub Company - along with a couple of great seasonal ales: Adnams Mayday beer, and a rather fine Atlantic IPA from Sharps. I'll be more than happy if they keep up this kind of quality and range.

Among the range of lagers was Meantime's own London Lager, which seemed to go down well with those who like their continental-style beers.

Guests got to try a few examples of some of the menu items - pizzas were tasty with good quality toppings and had thin and crusty bases and the dal was just the right consistency with a good strong spicy punch. The breaded halloumi sticks were rather bland and too thick, although the cauliflower and parmesan dip made for an interesting combination.

The menu promises an excellent choice - from foot-long hotdogs with fried onions and fries (£6) to whole gilt head bream with chilli, ginger, sesame, lemongrass and asian slaw (£11.50) with plenty in between. A selection of pizzas is on offer, all of which can be ordered to take away, and there is an impressive range of veggie options - roasted aubergines with chickpeas, mozzarella and parmesan; veggie shepherds pie with sweet potato mash; red bean & beetroot burger with goats cheese in a sesame bun with fries; roasted squash stuffed with rice, pinenuts, cumin, coriander, tomato and yogurt. My mouth is watering right now. Sunday roasts will also be starting up in due course.

I can't help thinking Capital Pub Company has set itself quite a challenge with the New Cross House - as I keep mentioning, it's a huge pub and they are going to have to attract a large number of regular diners to repay what must have been quite a costly refit. In East Dulwich this would take considerable work - in New Cross, not regarded as a destination for an evening out by many folk in south east London - they are going to have to lure spenders in from Brockley, Greenwich and beyond.

As far as Deptford goes I think it's a fantastic addition to pub dining in the area and wish the place every success. We already have the Royal Albert which is a great place for beers and grub, and the Dog & Bell which holds its own in terms of beer and certainly has the best prices in the area. The New Cross House will bring greater choice, and a welcome bit of competition so they can keep each other on their toes - great news for us punters.

The New Cross House
316 New Cross Road,
New Cross,
SE14 6AF


Peter said...

Amazing, Dame. Can't wait

Anonymous said...

It sounds great, will pay it a visit soon!

Anonymous said...

Does it have an upstairs? And is the garden/patio open to customers?

Deptford dame said...

@anon the upstairs is not in public use right now. Naturally the garden is for customers.

Tina said...

You said there are other pubs in New Cross and surrounding areas which fulfil the old role the Goldsmiths Tavern held. Where? Surely you cannot mean the New Cross Inn as that has a totally different clientele and music vibe. I have yet to find one. This just looks like a soulless, unoriginal pub which is exactly the same as any other middle-class identikit pub. I for one shall not be visiting, but I'm sure my custom won't be missed.

Deptford Dame said...

@ tina what I actually said was there are plenty more dark, dingy and dirty pubs in the area. You're right the New Cross Inn is totally different, and not in a good way.

I heart cupcakes said...

As an old regular of the GMT I was sad to see it go when it was originally closed and refurbished, however I am glad to see someone breathing life into it as the Goldsmiths of recent years was a wasted space. And while I agree there is nowhere like the old GMT or the Dewdrop in New Cross anymore you can still go to places like the Grosvenor in Stockwell and it's pretty much the same crowd. The New Cross Inn appears to have just given up years ago and maybe the NCH is the kick up the bum it needs to sort itself out.

liberty said...

food sounds good, i might try it out, but i too wonder where are these "plenty of other pubs" that fill the old Goldsmiths niche?!

I certaily haven't found anything like it around since. Where can you find a big space with blasting live punk / ska / reggae etc with door to door old school SE London punks etc, night after night great music, great crowd... there are squat parties, but I don't know of a pub where you can always go and find that atmosphere. Please let me know where these "plenty of other pubs" are located. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The GMT hadn't been wall to wall with punks for a good few years. It's recent incarnation was just a waste of space really - just a few suspect locals and a bit of a dodgy atmosphere. I certainly won't be looking for a pub that brings back that vibe! If you want a decent punky pub try the Birds Nest in Deptford.