Before heading out for a hard Saturday afternoon’s shopping, my partner in crime and I visited 1802 for a spot of lunch. The bar & restaurant is attached to the Museum in Docklands and is part of the original set of buildings that made up a sugar warehouse some 200 years ago. The juxtaposition of the towering modern office buildings across the wharf and the old world surroundings wasn’t lost on us.
The place is simple and stylish – original open brickwork and wooden pillars create a space filled with tables and sofas, and makes for a pleasant change from the (mostly) chain bars which surround it. Weekdays are unsurprisingly busier than weekends, but during our visit several families came in from the museum for a pit stop and some restorative lunch, whilst the low level music kept the place from seeming too quiet.
The weekend brunch menu has a firm nod to British fare: onion and cider soup with cheddar toasties, bubble and squeak complete with hollandaise and a poached egg, and Old Spot sausage roll with spring greens and piccalilli were the stand outs on the starter menu. How often do you see sausage roll on a menu? And why isn’t it more often? The mains section blew away all my good intentions of a light lunch, so we ordered a bottle of wine and settled in – we were here for the long haul!
It’s worth noting that my dining partner being coeliac didn’t faze the waiting staff at all. They were more than happy to hold the hollandaise and offer advice on which dishes were suitable. We both tucked into the bubble and squeak to begin with, which was just as it should be and apart from a little egg envy on my side (hers was runnier than mine) all was good: salty and cabbagey with potatoes crispy on the outside. Mmmm.
Mains-wise the menu was very tempting, including the old favourites of beer battered fish & chips and Londoner sausages & champ, alongside the deliciously English-sounding home cured sea trout with jersey royals, asparagus and mustard hollandaise.
Despite my light lunch intentions I plumped for the Old Spot belly of pork with lemon, parsley and sage, bolstered by a helping of colcannon and a side serving of field mushrooms. I got a huge serving of pork for a lunch time portion, but it was so sweet and tender with superb crackling that I very nearly cleared the plate. Only the thought that nothing would button up later on our shopping excursion stopped me from demolishing the lot (and leaving room for pudding). My soon-to-be-shopping friend had the open omelette with Rosary goat cheese, mushrooms, spinach and truffle oil which was similarly very good.
After some time we felt we could manage a look at the puddings…to my friend’s delight there was an option that suited her diet. Since this was quite a rarity she decided to go for it, and I could hardly let her eat on her own, so we found ourselves in the position of having an entirely unnecessary 3-course lunch. I feared for the success of the shopping.
I ordered the vanilla and lemon cheesecake which appeared looking very cute in its own glass whilst my friend’s Amarula brulee had the requisite amount of crunch on the topping and creaminess inside, accompanied by a cranberry chutney which cut through any sickliness nicely.
The brunch/lunch menu is fantastic value at £13.95 for two courses or £16.95 for three. The South African chef aims to source produce as locally and seasonally as he can (as is the current fashion), but whatever the reason it works. Everything we had was fresh tasting and well cooked and stood us in very good stead for the rest of the day. 1802 is a great place for a weekend lunch and with news of a Jack the Ripper and the East End Lunch Menu on its way to accompany the new Jack the Ripper exhibition opening, there’s plenty a reason to hot foot it down to 1802.
Reviewer: Tara O’Reilly
Address: 1802, The Museum in Docklands,
No.1 Warehouse, Hertsmere Road, West India Quay, London E14 4AL. **
Tel:** 0870 444 3886