Bang in the heart of Greenwich is the very charming Spread Eagle restaurant. It was once a 17th century tavern and coaching inn, and recently had a new makeover. I, along with a friend, went to check it out on its re-opening night. I’d not been before so can’t give you the lowdown on what it was like pre-makeover, but I was told that they kept the 17th century paintings that adorned the walls. There are a lot of them – so many in fact you’d struggle to find any bare wall space. I quite liked them though, made me feel like I was at the National Portrait Gallery taking in a bit of culture, but in a much cosier setting. I think the general change to the refurb was a new lick of paint and some swanky new furniture.
The menu devised by Mark Broadbent, famed for running Bluebird in Chelsea, was also given a makeover, and so I was really keen to try it. It took a while to decide what to go for as it all sounded great, but in the end I plumped for: crayfish and brown shrimp cocktail to start, 10oz aged Angus sirloin steak for main, and an apricot tarte tatin to finish. Boom! Friend went for: Serrano iberico, the steak too and a strawberry knickerbocker glory. He was very happy with his choices – I was too. I’ve included a photo of his starter because I kept picking at it and pretty much ate the lot (very giving friend – had it been the other way around I probably would’ve stabbed his hand with the fork!).
Don’t get me wrong; my starter was just as ace and a lovely twist to a retro classic. The little shrimps and pickled cucumber, exported the cocktail right out of the 70s straight into the noughties. But, the quality of the Serrano ham served with peach, chilli and a pecorino crisp, was just too good to resist.
And now on to the steak – a hunky piece of juicy, prime sirloin. When my friend had a bite of his, he had that glazed look of someone that had just fallen in love, and he had. He fell in love with that steak right there and then and I knew exactly how he felt, ‘cos I felt it too. Yes, it was that good! The dessert didn’t disappoint either; sweet, sticky and tangy apricots, just as it should be. I was really quite stuffed at that point, but finished it anyway – it was too delicious not to.
You know, I really can’t fault this meal, if I was to pick at anything it would be that the two sauces served with the steak wasn’t necessary, one of either would’ve been sufficient. The restaurant has a really chilled but sophisticated vibe to it with staff having the right balance of service and attentiveness. It’s a little bit of a trek for me to get to The Spread Eagle from where I live, but with cooking like that, I’d gladly make that journey again and again – I’d urge you to do the same.
A 3-course à la carte meal, not including drinks, is approx £40 per head. They also offer a fixed menu: 2 courses for £16.50 or 3 courses for £19.50.
Food I Fancy dined as a guest.
The Spread Eagle
1-2 Stockwell Street, Greenwich, London SE10 9JN
Tel: 020 8853 2333