The New Cross House - sneak preview

The first of what may become a flurry of pre-opening functions took place last night at the revamped New Cross House, the pub formerly known as Goldmiths Tavern. A smattering of local and/or food and drink bloggers were invited along for a sneak preview (ahead of tonight's official launch party and first night proper on Monday) and Brockley Central bagged a couple of tickets.

Brockley Central was a not regular at the Tavern, to be honest: a few peeks through the grimy windows on the way to #Meateasy hardly counts (especially as by its second visit the pub was already closed). But by all accounts it was a bit of a dive.

Others, then, will be better placed to judge the true scale of of the transformation, but by any measure what the team from Capital Pubs has achieved is impressive. This is now a Big Pub. The picture above is taken from the front door and really only hints at its pleasant sprawl. To the left are more seats (and the few original tiles on which the clever custom-made wallpaper used elsewhere is based) and beyond the curtains is a further large seating area complete with more booths, an open(ish) kitchen, a pizza oven and some drop-down screens for major sports events (terrestrial only - this is not to be a sports pub). And as if that wasn't enough there's a gussied up outside area and the old shell of a barn out back has been transformed into what amounts to an entire extra pub, albeit one with open walls (the smokers are already sizing it up). It's impressive stuff. There's a few more pics here.

Hard to judge ambience on the strength of a preview night but the staff seem pleasant and enthusiastic. We spoke to the manager, who felt that the area was crying out for a good quality pub offering decent food and drink in a modern stylish environment. If he's right (and he did acknowledge that the Royal Albert was in a similar vein) then on the evidence of last night The New Cross House ticks all the right boxes.

There's a good range of interesting beers on tap (both keg and ale) including some from Meantime. Only house wine was on offer last night (from a pump but none the worse for that) but there seemed to be plenty of choice. And - a particular plus in my book - there were at least four different gins to choose from.

Food: we tried good pizzas, fried chicken (no bones!), homemade unleavened bread with a spicy dhal, deep-fried halloumi with a cauliflower dip, chilli nachos... All good. The rest of the menu is a melange of dishes that seem specifically designed to go with booze: hot dogs, burgers, pies and pizzas all feature heavily. And - perhaps in in a nod to the local student market - there's a veggie version for pretty much every item. So don't necessarily go for a three-course meal but do go out for a drink in confidence that you'll be able to have some good quality grub alongside.

On the earliest of first impressions, then, The New Cross House is a great new addition to the area and means Brockley Central will no longer be disappointed when the next ELL train terminates at New Cross or there's a 20-minute wait for a Brockley train at London Bridge.