Raise a Glass . . . . . .

The Prospect of Whitby

Evergreen - - Contents Summer 2015 - Stu­art Mill­son

As the Thames makes its way from East Lon­don and on to­ward the low- lands and mud of Til­bury and Gravesend, the river seems to be­long to the world of Pepys, Dick­ens, the dark wa­ters of Our Mu­tual Friend, of smug­glers and barge­men. At Wap­ping, a sense of history is over­pow­er­ing, and no more so than at the an­cient inn, The Prospect of Whitby, a place of tra­di­tional ale, and views of tidal changes, black­headed gulls skim­ming the wa­ter, and the ves­sels that pass by on their pas­sage to the sea.

Both Turner and Whistler came to this spot, find­ing in­spi­ra­tion in the views of the Thames; and no doubt both distin­guished artists en­joyed the dis­trac­tions of the tales and com­pany of the river­men who supped at The Prospect of Whitby — so named af­ter a Ty­ne­side col­lier which once berthed by the inn. The pub dates from the early 16th cen­tury, and is said to be the old­est of its kind on the Thames. The in­fa­mous Judge Jef­freys also came here, and in olden times the place was known as The Devil’s Tav­ern.

Once pop­u­lar with fash­ion­able 1960s’ celebri­ties, the pub is now part of the Tay­lor Walker em­pire. The Prospect is known for its ex­cep­tion­ally good food: veni­son pie, for ex­am­ple, or “the ul­ti­mate fish and chips” ( as op­posed to

their or­di­nary, yet mouth­wa­ter­ing fish and chips!) and Tay­lor Walker’s own steak and ale pie. And if that was not enough, the visi­tor can en­joy a chicken breast, smoth­ered in a Ched­dar cheese and crispy ba­con sauce — or even the pub’s own 1730 ale, BBQ sauce.

Doubt­less, the tra­di­tional Lon­doner ( hun­gry af­ter a day on the Thames barges) needs to be sus­tained by... a “Bri­tish clas­sic!” The menu an­nounces: “Juicy Bor­ough­bridge pork sausages served on mashed pota­toes with lash­ings of gravy and sticky onion chut­ney.” Mem­bers of the Cam­paign for Real Ale clearly have a lik­ing for this Thame­side in­sti­tu­tion, which takes beer very se­ri­ously — and a 10 per cent dis­count is of­fered for those

ded­i­cated CAMRA loy­al­ists. Craft beers ( the spe­cial­ist brews pro­duced by smaller, in­de­pen­dent con­cerns) are cham­pi­oned at The Prospect of Whitby — good Lon­don names, such as Shored­itch Tri­an­gle, and Por­to­bello IPA and Mar­ket Porter.

On a sunny day, en­joy a re­fresh­ing cool cider — a fruity Old Mout, or the Kop­par­berg pear — or maybe a fizzing lager, such as the well- known Bud­weiser brand, or a full- of­flavour al­co­holic ginger beer from Crab­bies. The wine cel­lar is also first- class, with the vine- grow­ing re­gions of France, Chile, Ar­gentina, New Zealand and Aus­tralia all rep­re­sented. The house wine comes from Italy, a de­light­ful Pinot Gri­gio.

So al­low your­self to drift down the river to Wap­ping Wall, to the pewter- top bars and gen­tle back­drop of con­ver­sa­tion and con­vivi­al­ity at The Prospect of Whitby — and a prospect of the Thames and its history, sec­ond to none.

The Prospect of Whitby, 57 Wap­ping Wall, Wap­ping, Lon­don E1W 3SH. Tel: 020 74811095

CATH HAR­RIES

Passers- by tempted by the invit­ing frontage are not dis­ap­pointed when they en­ter the bar.

PETER HER­RING

The old Ty­ne­side col­lier is no longer there, but the “prospect” of the river re­mains a fine one.

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