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!