Beer has been poured at The Old Brewery in Greenwich for more than 350 years.
The Grade II-listed building behind The Old Royal Naval College even once supplied the Royal Hospital’s pensioners with their three-pints-a-day ration.
But it’s latest reinvention by Young’s has a focus on food – aimed at attracting the burgeoning dining out market in London.
To achieve this managers have brought in head chef Peter Chlupacek, who previously worked for Marriott Hotels , The Grosvenor in Victoria and Hotel Du Vin And Bistro in Wimbledon, to overhaul the menus.
The German native has lived in Greenwich for eight years and said: “I knew the venue quite well and thought the plans for expanding and making this the best place to go in Greenwich sounded really exciting.
“We have a lot of high street chains here but nothing where you can really go and have that more upmarket experience. Which is what we want to offer – a casual fine dining setting.”
He grew up in Essen in Germany cooking roast pork, dumplings and Kaiserschmarrn (pancakes fried in butter) after school for his brother, grandmother and mum – whose idea it was for him to become a chef.
“I got an apprenticeship in Germany and never looked back or regretted anything,” said Peter who moved to London in 2003.
The 44-year-old landed the job at The Old Brewery after it was bought from Meantime Brewing Company last year and helped oversee a multi-million pound refurbishment.
Young’s hopes its investment will attract private events, weddings and an afternoon tea crowd rather than just drinkers.
The change of direction is unsurprising given that The Campaign For Real Ale (Camra) recently revealed London had lost an average of 81 pubs a year since 2001 and Mayor Of London Sadiq Khan launched a public consultation to try and help stem the flood of closures.
Peter is hoping to hook the London foodie crowd with an all-week menu featuring dishes like Somerset camembert, rocket and fig jam sandwich, poached Scottish rainbow trout with quinoa, lentils and avocado and elderflower and gooseberry Bakewell tart.
Peter said: “Pubs need to focus on food if they want to be successful because there are so many places you can just get a drink. It doesn’t set you apart.
“So you need to offer something unique.
“That’s what we want to do by using local suppliers.
“It might mean our menu isn’t as extensive as other places – we don’t have 50 dishes – and we might run out of things sometimes but we are fine with that as it means we are serving up produce at its peak.”
Drink still plays a big part in the venue with the wooden bar stocked with craft brews such as Beavertown Gamma Ray Pale Ale, Pressure Drop Wu Gang Wheat Beer and Howling Hops IPA No.2 served alongside Young’s casks on tap and a long list of wines, bubblies and cocktails.
And the venue’s heritage has not been obliterated, with plans to start brewing beer on site once more.
“That definitely was part of what attracted me here,” said Peter. “I hope I will have a say in that.
“I am very particular about my beer and obviously love my German beer but there is a lot of exciting stuff going on in England with craft beer, which isn’t necessarily that traditional but is producing a lot of different flavours.
“Given we are called The Old Brewery we would be stupid to ignore that part.”
Alcohol also plays its part in the food with the Scottish salmon cured with Little Bird gin from behind the bar and the fish and chips battered using Young’s ale.
“Essentially it is still a pub- because that’s what Young’s is about,” said Peter.
“What makes us different is the philosophy to have fresh, British produce and a big focus on seasonal food.
“For example the lamb medallions were being served with a spring ratatouille but we are about to switch to a broad bean and chorizo ragu.
“The dishes are constantly developing and evolving according to the seasons.”
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