The Britannia, Victoria Park

The Bri­tan­nia has the most con­vinc­ing Ger­man-style beer gar­den we’ve seen in a British pub.

It’s looks out over east London’s huge and love­ly Vic­to­ria Park (found­ed by Her Majesty in the 19th cen­tu­ry to keep the cock­neys out of trou­ble) which pro­vides the req­ui­site canopy of trees.

In the sum­mer (and there are a cou­ple of weeks of it left) there is a wood­en bar­be­cue kitchen which con­tributes a char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly Ger­man aro­ma – grilling meat.

Time Out and oth­ers refer to it as a gas­trop­ub,  and it cer­tain­ly does much bet­ter than aver­age pub food: the home­made chips had been fried mul­ti­ple times and were very crisp. The bar staff and wait­ers were extreme­ly friend­ly, too.  How­ev­er, it’s def­i­nite­ly as much a pub as a restau­rant (anoth­er rea­son why it remind­ed us of Ger­many?).

There are Mean­time beers, two cask ales (Deuchar’s IPA and Sharp’s Doom Bar), Wor­thing­ton White Shield, Hoe­gaar­den, Innis and Gunn and Staro­pra­men on offer.

Shame there was no 4% helles on draft, though. A litre or two of that would have gone down very nice­ly.

The Bri­tan­nia has a web­site here, which explains where it is.  It’s not great for train or tube, although the 388 bus stops out­side. It’s very child-friend­ly, which we like because it means we get to spend time with our friends who have sprogged. If you hate kids, you might want to go some­where else.

Adnam’s East Green and the Crown pub, Victoria Park

The Crown pub, Victoria Park, as photographed by EwanM
The Crown pub, Vic­to­ria Park, as pho­tographed by EwanM

On one of our ran­dom wan­der­ings round East Lon­don, we stopped off at the Crown Pub, next to Vic­to­ria Park. I gath­er this has been through a few incar­na­tions, and is now part of the Geron­i­mo Inns chain. It’s gas­tro-y, with a lounge bit down­stairs and a din­ing room upstairs.

Top marks for the feng shui – despite the cowskins and bare floors, they do man­age to make it feel cosy (good light­ing, dark­ish walls and a clev­er­ly placed book case).

They had Adnam’s East Green on tap, which claims to be car­bon neu­tral. We haven’t heard lots of enthu­si­as­tic reviews about this beer, so we weren’t expect­ing much. We were pleas­ant­ly sur­prised. It had an orangey, spicy aro­ma, like a Bel­gian wit beer, which was how it tast­ed too. The Adnam’s web­site makes no ref­er­ences to use of spices, but I’m blowed if I can work out how they got that flavour with­out them. Refresh­ing and dif­fer­ent, and worth try­ing even if you don’t want to save the plan­et.

They also had Pride and Doom­bar on tap, in rea­son­able con­di­tion. In bot­tles, the usu­al selec­tion of dull world lagers, but they also had Anchor Steam.

We liked this place, as it was gen­uine­ly relax­ing and cosy – too many wannabe mod­ern pubs just don’t man­age to pull this off. We didn’t try the food, although it’s sup­posed to be good. Worth a vis­it if you’re in the area, and a great spot for a Sun­day after­noon pint after a stroll through the park.

Boak (via text)

Notes

1. The Crown is at 223 Grove Road, E3, next to Vic­to­ria Park, and is equidis­tant from Beth­nal Green and Mile End tubes. Beer in the Evening review here.

2. Adnam’s have achieved car­bon neu­tral­i­ty through a mix­ture of gen­uine reduc­tions in car­bon emis­sions and by off­set­ting the rest. We’re not that con­vinced by off­set­ting, but it’s inter­est­ing to see a brew­ery quan­ti­fy the car­bon emis­sions cre­at­ed by brew­ing and attempt to do some­thing about it.

3. Geron­i­mo Inns also own the Phoenix in Vic­to­ria, which is rub­bish, and The Bet­je­men Arms in King’s Cross St Pan­cras, where we haven’t yet been. So I don’t know what belong­ing to this chain is sup­posed to mean in terms of qual­i­ty.

Once again, we find our­selves indebt­ed to EwanM at Flickr for the pic­ture. He appears to be on a mis­sion to pho­to­graph every Lon­don pub and put up his pic­tures under a Cre­ative Com­mons license. Thanks, Ewan!