January 12, 2009
Until last week I still thought this was the "Private Members Club" which it originally opened as. Unfortunately they haven't really done much marketing to let people know that this has since changes and is now a bar and restaurant open to all. I've walked past this place countless times - a nondescript black door next to the East Dulwich Tavern of the blink and you'll miss it kind. Even the website gives nothing away - literally, I had to find the phone number for this place elsewhere.
It was Friday night and the place was about 1/3 full - a shame as the room is really lovely - hunting lodge meets gastro pub with a big roaring fire in the corner which we sat next to. The menu is very short - around four starters and mains to choose from, modern European in style. Some freshly made olive bread started things off well. Most of us opted for the wild mushrooms on parmesan toast (very simple, but nice), whilst one of the party went for gnocchi with roast butternut squash and tomatoes - also very simple but nice. From the mains the majority again opted for the same dish: crispy pork belly on a bed of puy lentils - great but could have done with something more. A tiny dish of "seasonal greens" came as an extra side order. The odd one out opted for fish stew which was declared as "very pleasant". "Very pleasant" pretty much sums up the food - perfectly good, but nothing that blew us away. With Franklins and the Palmerston up the road they could do with pulling their socks up a bit, especially as they are charging similar prices. The wine list was well priced and staff were friendly, but the lack of diners was noticeable. The adjoining bar is very cosy and makes a nice change from the heaving throng of the EDT downstairs. I hope they sort out their marketing as this place could be a very nice addition to East Dulwich.