It was called The Duke of Edinburgh, then The Vanbrugh for 20 years now Duke of Greenwich – we took a visit

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Co-owner Jonathan Kaye tells Eliza Frost about the pub’s new garden launch, the name’s historical nod and its moreish menu 

“In my 10 years in London, I’ve run a lot of fun and interesting places, including The Big Easy, Oblix at the Shard, The Neptune Restaurant at Kimpton Fitzroy London, and the Delaunay,” explains Jonathan Kaye, co-owner of the Duke of Greenwich. 

He’s been in hospitality for almost 20 years and started at the local pub back in Essex. He “instantly fell in love with the industry”.

Working with business partner Dan, they had the opportunity to take the lease of Vauxhall pub The Jolly Gardeners – “and that’s when the pubs started”. Now it’s the Duke of Greenwich….

How has the refurb process been since you took over the Duke of Greenwich last year?

It’s been rather fun, when we got the pub, it didn’t actually have a kitchen or bar, so we had to start with a BBQ outside. We saved up some pennies to purchase a new kitchen for the inside. The pub has got some great history to it, so we wanted to preserve that as much as possible. 

And what is that history?

It was opened in 1871 as The Duke of Edinburgh, it carried on until it was called The Vanbrugh for almost 20 years, which it is most known. We changed the name back as a nod to the original, the only thing is that there are a couple of pubs called The Duke of Edinburgh, hence the name change. 

What do you love about being located in Greenwich?

Being so close to one of the best parks in London is ideal, I live around the corner from the pub so I’ve known the area for a little while now. Locals are friendly and I’m pretty sure we get around 20 dogs a day visit us, which is obviously great. 

You launched a new menu recently, tell us about that…

We wanted to do a little twist on pub classics, everything we make here is fresh and we get our produce from great suppliers: meat is from Lyon’s Hill in Dorset, fish is fresh from James Knight of Mayfair, sourced from Cornwall, and vegetables are delivered from farm to door by Shrub Provisions. 

The cost we pay for these items is a little more expensive, but it’s worth it for the flavour and sustainability aspect. 

Why is where you source ingredients from so important?

Food sustainability has always been important to us here, the farm that we work and source meat from follows regenerative farming practices. This is much better for the environment but also you can taste the difference with the free-range meat.  

Also, all the beer here is from south London, we really wanted to help put those breweries on the map and champion independence. We deal directly with the brewers, so for example, we put an order in for our Duke lager on Tuesday, it’s brewed on Wednesday and then delivered on Thursday, you can’t get much fresher than that. 

What are the menu highlights?

With asparagus season in full swing, it has to be our asparagus, new potato and pine nut salad, with wild garlic aioli.

For a main course, the lamb shank, mushroom and rosemary pie and mash. But better than anything is our Sunday roast; large cuts of meat with the best vegetable and sides selection around. 

Dan was pleased to add a BBQ menu – is this ready for summer?

Yes, we are currently playing with smoking and slow-cooking different cuts of meats and vegetables (tough job, I know). We are looking to launch the BBQ menu at the start of May… 

This is your second pub, how has it been adding another location to your roster?

We have loved the opportunity to save a pub from turning into flats! We have a great team in place at The Jolly, who have been there since we opened. They run the place now, but we still pop back a few times a week to see the regulars. 

What do you like about the new venue that stands out? 

We really wanted to push the garden and make it one of the best in London to visit. We are planning to play the Euros this year on a massive screen outside. Henry, the local gardener, has just finished landscaping the garden, the new BBQ menu will be launched and the outside bar takeover will be in full swing. 

91 Colomb Street, Greenwich, SE10 9EZ


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