Proving that you really never can have too much of a good thing, the very next day after visiting Hai Cenato I found myself back in the new foodies’ paradise that is Create Victoria. The thing is, it’s just so convenient – just stumble out of Victoria tube station and there it is, directly in front of you.
That said, London’s newest restaurant complex had a different vibe today – it being Saturday lunchtime meant that Victoria was much quieter than it is during the week, when it plays host to a ceaseless flow of commuters.
Lisa and I were meeting at Greenwood, which describes itself as “Victoria’s newest and largest pub”. Now, that description on its own isn’t necessarily going to win you over – and nor will the fact that there’s a Sports Lounge upstairs which boasts five screens showing all competitive domestic and international sport throughout the day and night. Indeed, that might very well put some of you off.
That would be a shame, because this place is great – and you certainly don’t need to be a sports-lover to enjoy it. In fact, downstairs in the restaurant, where we were seated, there’s a very different atmosphere: it’s relaxed and peaceful – as well as light and airy, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling glass windows. A couple of TV screens have been positioned strategically so that you can keep an eye on what’s going on in the world of Arsenal, Man City et al if you so wish – but their volume is turned off so that they don’t intrude.
And the food is excellent. We tucked into mac ‘n’ cheese balls with chipotle sauce and crispy chilli squid with aioli to begin with, then feasted upon a butternut steak with gnocchi, smoked tofu and kale pesto and Cornish mussels with white wine, garlic and French fries. Not your typical pub grub – and how nice to see genuinely interesting vegetarian options on the menu; the butternut squash steak combo was inspired.
To be honest, we were going to pass on dessert, having already been very well fed, but due to a bit of a mix up with our mains we were offered desserts “on the house” – and well, it would have been rude to say no, wouldn’t it? Heroically, therefore, we partook of fried apple pie with cinnamon ice cream and a banoffee sundae with banana ice cream and salted toffee sauce. “Yum”, was the general consensus – and the bowls scraped clean were a testament to the quality of what we’d just eaten.
Greenwood also features a stonking cocktail list, an eclectic choice of whiskies and a reasonably-priced wine list. What’s not to like?