Tuesday 6 April 2010

The Ship, Wandsworth

The Ship is one of those pubs that cater to most tastes. A huge outdoor area with a smoking barbeque ensures lazy summer days by the river can be well accomodated and they even have draught Pimms and lemonade. Inside, the bustling bar area is flooded with natural light housing many tables, all around a huge enclosed burning furnace. Out the back, a more sedate restaurant, where we had our lunch.

We kicked off with a little amuse of foie, rolled in some sort of crushed nut. It was velvet-smooth, and the little disc of apple was intensely flavoured and tooth-sticking.

My starter of smoked duck breast, tempura of confit thigh (hiding behind that massive beetroot triangle), spiced aubergine caviar and cherry jelly was visually stunning. The beetroot crisp was cut into a fearsome shard and the tempura duck leg was beautifully battered and grease-free. Aubergine caviar looked innocent enough but it packed a pleasant punch that I wasn't expecting. However, I thought the cherry jelly to be superfluous, perhaps an element too far as it didn't add much to the dish.

All this, however, was blown straight out of the water by a companion's artichoke ravioli; silky al dente pasta, adorned with seared scallops in a mussel broth, we all looked upon his plate enviously. He was forced to share it with us.

The 'surf and turf' consisted of braised pigs cheek and tiger prawns accompanied by carrot and ginger puree. While the puree was a mere colour splash, the pigs cheek was fork-tender and interspersed with wibbly swathes of fat. Pork and shellfish is a classic combination, one that worked well here with the big juicy prawns. When I came towards the end of my dish though, the pigs cheek has a slightly unpleasant granular texture beneath it - a bit like haggis, and almost too intensely porky - and it was pushed aside. A slight blip on an otherwise delicious main.

Sides of fries were well fried and wedges were declared by the table to be excellent. We also tried a dish from their barbeque menu, pork ribs in a coca cola sauce. These fell apart to hungry hands and were stickily good. I'm going for them next time.

Too stuffed to contemplate dessert for there was much moreish, home-made focaccia, we headed out to the sun-speckled garden for a few more glasses of wine with our excellent host, manager Oisin. Before really realising, we'd spent a good four hours there and had vowed to come back in summer months. You'll find us there propping up the bar, smelling faintly of smoky meat, more likely than not faces smeared with a little barbeque sauce.

The Ship

41 Jew's Row,
London SW181TB

Tel: 020 8870 9667

The Ship on Urbanspoon

We dined as guests of The Ship.


Jonathan said...

Great stuff. Have never eaten at the Ship, but it's a cracking pub and full of fond drunken memories.

S said...

nice, Lizzie. 'wibbly swathes of fat'- love the way you write! x shayma

Manne said...

Great review. :) Glad you enjoyed it, I think they do great work in the kitchen at The Ship.

Have to get over there again soon to check out the BBQ, that brief mention of ribs made me instantly salivate...

// Manne

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Loving that smoked duck, don't see that often enough.

catty said...

I agree - will definitely go back in summer and spend a nice long Sunday afternoon there. I only had a main as we were sort of in a rush but the food was delicious!

Chris Pople said...

What a fantastic place! And it's almost walking distance to my house! An unbelievable find. I'm taking my parents there in June.

Gastro1 said...

Great review of a most convivial boozer with very decent food too !

The Grubworm said...

Sounds fab - wrong side of London for me so I've never made it down there. Starting to regret that now. I really like the sound of the pig cheek (my NBF) and king prawn as kind of surf and turf (pool and pigpen?). I also love the whole beetroot/apple sail thing going on.

Hollow Legs said...

Jonathan - It's a lovely place - I imagine I'll be back very soon.

Shayma - thanks!

Manne - there's nothing quite like the phrase 'barbequed ribs' to get you drooling...

Sarah - Good point - why don't we see more smoked duck? It's delicious.

Catty - Definitely a good place to while away an afternoon, especially now the weather has picked up.

Chris - First Mien Tay, now this. One might think SW is actually good...

Gastro1 - Thanks!

Grubworm - definitely worth a trip, I'd say. I've always been a fan of pork and shellfish, so it worked really well for me.