A pint before a gig is an essential part of the British live music experience and despite the ultra-modern surrounds of The 02, The Observatory fulfils the traditional British pub to a T.
Named after the world-famous Royal Observatory up the road in Greenwich Park, The Observatory at The 02 is part of the Nicholson pub portfolio, which means there’s a menu dedicated to that most classic of pub dishes, the great British pie. Expect everything from game pie or wild boar and chorizo pie to more traditional fish, chicken and mushroom and steak and ale versions, plus root vegetable and sweet potato and goat’s cheese pies for vegetarians.
Elsewhere, the menu deals in classic pub grub without any gastropub intrusions – and is all the better for it. Burgers comes sandwiched in a brioche bun with bacon and Monterrey jack cheese, haddock is hand-battered in Nicholsons Pale Ale and served up with chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce, there are roasts on Sunday (beef, chicken, pork belly), plus there’s Britain’s national dish of chicken tikka masala, with poppadum, mango chutney and naan bread.
Vegetarian choice could be better, though if you don’t fancy the main of macaroni cheese, you could fill up on starters such as roast shallot and Armagnac tarte Tatin or a salad, and at least you’ll have room for a traditional dessert such as apple and blackberry crumble with custard or sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream.
If you’re not that hungry, the buffet menu offers upwards of six items from £12.50. Choose from the likes of pork pies, salt-and-pepper chicken wings, wholetail scampi or smoked Cheddar croquettes. There are sandwiches too: ham and mustard; tuna mayonnaise and spring onion; roasted red pepper and hummus.
To drink, there’s a global list of more than 20 wines, though cask ale is really the thing to wet your whistle with here, whether Nicholson’s own Pale Ale or Sharp’s Doom Bar from Cornwall.