The Gold Coast, Elmers End
It would have been dereliction of duty not to have done a swift U-turn when we noticed the lettering on this otherwise ordinary-looking pub promising fine African wine and dining. And we have nothing against South Norwood but it's not where we would automatically place an elegant, welcoming African gastropub. It's like stepping into a colonial club. Bright, airy and colourful - without being garish - and a choice of wicker settees and peacock chairs, traditional sofas or more formal tables and chairs to suit your mood. But let's gently steer round the politics - this is a colonial club where the rightful inheritors now celebrate their country's culture and cuisine and welcome the former landlords to sample it as well. We didn't hear the traditional 'akwaaba' - the Ghanaian welcome - but felt it as we entered. It's clearly a magnet for local Ghanaians - even with Owen and co. stuffing the Argies on the big screen, there were probably only half a dozen of us pasty faces among the hundred or so customers who came and went while we were there. And it didn't matter - as, of course, it should not: but try it the other way round in some London boozers and you could weep for the stupidity of it all. Star or Club lager from Ghana comes in big (675ml) bottles at £3.50 and there's also Accra brewed Guinness and a decent selection of new world wines - although it seems that West Africa itself, if it does produce wine, doesn't export it. Plenty of European lagers on tap, but not a place for real ale. Food is served all day and for us was a delicious voyage of discovery - chichinga (lamb kebabs), kelewele (deep fried plantain), yam balls, waakye (sweet black-eyed beans with wild rice) just made us want to return and further explore the extensive menu and comfortable atmosphere.
224 Portland Road, Elmers End, London, SE25 4QB
020 8676 1919
How to get there
Door-to-door journey planner
How to find the The Gold Coast pub
From Norwood Junction, head up Station Road for 100 yards to turn right into High Street and then right again into Portland Road. You'll find the Gold Coast about ten minutes walk on the left hand side.