Stew Lane, 48 Upper Thames Street,
0872 148 2200
Note: Calls cost 10p per min plus network extras.
The ViewLondon Review
This City pub boasts Thames views that are hard to beat and good-value food and drink.
Situated down a narrow lane on the edge of the Thames, the Samuel Pepys has an enviable location. Enter the pub and head up a winding mirrored staircase and you'll immediately be taken back by the stunning riverside views. With plenty of vantage points throughout three distinct internal areas – a bar-like space close to the entrance; a cosier pub-like middle section; and a restaurant to the rear - there's a multitude of spots to take in the view and a variety of sights – everywhere from the Tate Modern to Shakespeare's Globe. There's also a small narrow balcony area with a few seats on.
This is relaxed – the Samuel Pepys attracts everyone from local City workers to tourists wandering up and down the Thames. Lunchtimes and Thursday and Friday nights can get particularly busy, but it's quite spacious compared to some neighbouring venues. There's an eclectic, contemporary soundtrack in the background and staff are friendly and helpful, too.
This menu is pretty standard for a pub of this type. The selection of sharing dishes includes vegetarian bites (£9.95). While the breaded mushrooms, mango and tomato wontons, chargrilled veg skewers and veg spring rolls don’t make for the most imaginative selection, they're of a reasonable quality and will please most crowds.
The bar also serves stone-baked pizzas, all priced under £10. The vegetariana (£8.95) is generously topped with stringy mozzarella and fresh-tasting veg – black olives, sliced tomatoes, spinach and red onion - but it could be more flavourful. For a more traditional pub dish, the fully loaded home-made burger (£10.50) is a good bet. The scrumptious patty is made with a good-quality cut of meat and is well-prepared. The super-seedy bun is packed with lean bacon slices, melted cheese, a gherkin, plus lettuce and tomato. It comes with a delicious tangy bloody Mary sauce and a Dijon mustard mayo on the side, plus seriously moreish hand-cut chips.
There aren’t a lot of desserts on offer, but the warm chocolate brownie (£5.25) is very nice. The portion is huge, while the brownie is moist and spongy in the middle and perfectly complemented by a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.
The Samuel Pepys has a great selection to please even the fussiest of City drinkers. Ales include Doom Bar and Timothy Taylor (£3.70 a pint), while draught beers start at £3.75 and include Stella Black, Guinness and Staropramen. Tiger, Sol and Budvar feature in bottles (£3.70 each). The wine list is pretty reasonable, too – the house red £16 is a smooth merlot that goes well with most dishes.
Where the venue makes a mark, though, is with the cocktails. Expertly made and beautifully presented, they’re also great value – most are priced at £6.50. The espresso martini is a cocktail with a kick – the combination of Absolut Vanilla, kahlua, fresh espresso and sugar tastes smooth and slips down all too easily. The mojito (6.50) is also very well done: the lime, sugar and mint are in perfect proportions so they allow for the flavour of the Havana Especial rum to come through without being overpowering.
The Last Word
With stunning views and very respectable food and drink, this is great choice for a Thames-side drink or bite to eat.
The Samuel Pepys has been reviewed by 9 users