I live about a five minute walk from this place but had yet to go. There is something about finding a really great bar/pub that close to your living space that terrifies me. I already spend too much time at my local and that’s another 10 minutes away. However, The (Old) Salt Quay (says “The Old Salt Quay” on Google, but the site and signs say “The Salt Quay”) is in a great location, and has a decent reputation, so it was worth a go. Although, I might not be heading back anytime soon.
As I said, you can’t beat the location. It’s right on the river and a small canal that feeds the pond by my place. It has a massive patio, with terrace, so the one month out of the year that London gets decent weather its packed. In the winter, they enclose the patio and have heaters, so its a nice way to sit “outside” when its cold.
The interior is modern, but that rustic modern look. I’m indifferent to that style these days. It’s two stories, with an open area to the ceiling around the bar on the ground floor. This gave it a nice open feeling, but also increased the noise, as hard wood floors and high-ceilings don’t mix well. I tried to get an interior pic but couldn’t get a good one.
The staff was nice, but perhaps too nice. There was a gentleman working on a laptop, with a rather young, black lab at his feet. The dog was nice enough, but continued to yip and bark for almost 30 minutes, with neither the owner or the staff seeming to mind. The man started to pack up, so I figured he finally got the point, but no. He went over to the poker machine, with the dog still yipping. Then after 10 minutes over there, tied the dog up to his table and went to the bar to order another beer and chat with the bartender, while the dog kept on going. If I wasn’t waiting on food I already paid for I would have left, and several other patrons did, some while waiting to order beers.
I don’t mind dogs at all, and I am not blaming the dog here. This is clearly on the owner, and really the staff. High-pitched yelping in a place with high ceilings and hardwood floors does not mix well. Also, they had the heated, enclosed outdoor area, if the guy can’t keep his dog quiet, ask him to take it out there. Atmosphere matters as much as decor and staff, this one was poor.
I am not a huge fan of IPAs, however, I will always give one a try as I have had some great ones. The Punk IPA from Scottish brewer Brew Dog is one of those, so I always order one when I see it on tap. Made with hops from my last place of residence, and with a citrus backing, it’s a solid beer, and even better on draught.
I went with the “British Beef & Ale Pie,” mainly because it was the only pie on the menu. The menu did look good despite having only one pie choice, and they didn’t seem to venture too far away from typical pub fare. I went back to mashed potatoes rather than fries. It would have been tough to beat those fries from The Angel anyway. While the pie took awhile, it did appear and taste to be made on order, which is always nice.
Getting the gravy on the side was a nice surprise. From the initial look of the pie, I though it would be needed, as it looked well done. While it did need a touch on the outside the pastry was actually very good. The beef was very good, tender and in good-sized chunks. They were definitely went quality on the pie.
The potatoes and the vegetables were alright. They had the consistency of something that finished before the pie and sat on the plate until the pie was ready. They weren’t cold or had the vibe of leftovers from the previous day though. All in all the food was decent, with the pie being the best.
I am sure to give The (Old) Salt Quay another chance in the near future, but it might be awhile. They had a good selection of beers, both in kegs and casks, and a solid menu. While the pie experience wasn’t the best, the pie itself was good enough to make me believe in the other menu items. I don’t want to make this one all about the atmosphere, but it made a large impact on this visit. People go to pubs to get away from the noise and the distractions, hence why they’re in a pub and not a club or lounge downtown. And just to reiterate this isn’t about disliking dogs (which I don’t) I wrote and posted this from a coffee shop with dogs on either side of me. Well-behaved dogs with good owners. Ban bad owners, not bad dogs.
OVERALL RATING: 7