This restaurant review can also be found at the South West Londoner, here.
The riverside Wandsworth restaurant The Ship reopened on Friday after a refurbishment starting in January.
The venue, which has been around since 1786 under the name Thameside
Waterman's Inn, has expanded to included a larger courtyard with a new
view of the river, bigger toilets and a new menu.
As the opening fell on a miserably overcast day, the large outside
seating area went unused, something which made the inside feel even more
warm and welcoming. The bar area is inside a conservatory, letting the
room fill up with light, even on such a grey day.
The view into the dining area from the bar made it appear rather
small, but upon entering, it had a large expansion off to the side. The
kitchen is in full view of the diners, so those who are paranoid about
food preparation need not break a sweat. The décor was rather 'antique
rustic', with wood panelling everywhere, and intentionally mismatched
chairs. It all felt rather relaxed and home-made.
The full dinner menu started at 6pm (before that, there's a small pub
menu available, though the prices are similar to the dinner menu), and
was rather diverse - I was expecting seafood as a speciality, given the
The courgette and sage soup was decently big and ideal for the
weather, but I found it overly salty. Not enough to ruin it, but it
drowned out the flavour of a sage a bit too much.
For the main course I had the monkfish, clam and tomato tart. The
portion was sizeable, and the mix of seafood tasted great with the
saffron cream sauce they used. The monkfish itself had a nice, slightly
chewy texture - a must-try for those who haven't had that type of fish
I was looking forward to trying one of their rich-sounding desserts,
the treacle tart in particular, but the monkfish tart was so filling I
had to call it quits.
While I visited on a Friday, The Ship has a history of live music on
Sundays and a dedicated Irish traditional music night on Tuesdays. Most
notably, Tad Sargent and George Stains perform regularly.
"The primary aim is to look after customers through the summer," said Oisin Rodgers, manager of the establishment since 2006.
I entirely agree. Though The Ship had a successful opening
(especially in the pub area), I think that come summer, The Ship will
come into its own. The food is definitely at 'special occasions' prices for the
post-university set like me, but I'm still looking forward to having an
outdoors barbecue in the sunshine.
Information about The Ship, including menus and bookings can be found on their website www.theship.co.uk