All reader reviews by NunheadNeil
We wandered over to The Crooked Well a couple of Sundays ago as part of our old pal Esther's birthday celebrations and we had a very fine lunchtime feast indeed.
We had heard many good things about this latest addition to the ever growing Camberwell food offering and as we strolled down Grove Lane towards the pub the signs were auspicious; every outside table was full of happy punters chowing down on some very good looking food.
Entering The Crooked Well you have a nice chilled area on the left which is good for lounging, snacking and reading the papers with a more formal dining area on the right. I have visited this venue in many of its various formats over the past decade and the current owners have finally done the building proud, with a lovely relaxed but stylish interior combined with comfy furnishings.
After a quick drink at the bar, not a great deal of choice if cask ale is your thing but my Doom Bar had been well looked after and was the right temperature, we were shown to our handsome looking table for five. The menu is shortish and nicely balanced with a few classics and a couple of interesting dishes designed for sharing. The very stylish ladies at the table next to us were having the roast chicken which came as a dish for two; it looked divine with an aroma to match. Fortunately, before we got too carried away our very charming waiter informed us that the chicken was now finished for the day. No matter as there was plenty of good stuff left on offer.
I shared the rabbit and bacon pie with B which we matched up with a side order of greens and a few chips for good measure. Oh my lord it was a very, very tasty pie - succulent well flavoured meat, a rich gravy and a crispy puff pastry hat on top. This was a pie to savour and despite it being a big old portion we devoured every last mouthful with glee. Tory Boy had the roast beef which looked like it had been cooked to perfection and he declared himself well pleased with his selection. Esther and Carmen both had the fish and chips which also seemed to hit the spot.
The dessert menu looked so good that it was difficult to resist. Esther raved about the bitter chocolate tart which came with some lovely ripe figs and a scoop of vanilla ice cream while Carmen demolished a crème brûlée with shortbread at the other end of the table. I teamed up with Tory Boy for an assault on the cheese board; there was a great selection to choose from at £2 per cheese and I was very happy to spot the wonderful Plaisir au Chablis which made for a great end to the meal.
The wine list at The Crooked Well is well put together with plenty to choose from around the £20 mark. I like the idea that all of the wines are available as a small flask - gives you the opportunity to match up a few selections with your food without breaking the bank or ruining your liver.
Before we left I had a quick peak at the upstairs room which looked like it had lots of potential and would make a fine spot for a party or a private supper club. We are already looking forward to a return visit.
Thursday, September 08, 2011
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8
We stumbled upon Bianco 43 last Sunday while mooching about Greenwich trying to decide where have lunch before taking in a movie at the Picture House. The paint looked fresh, it's only been open a couple of weeks, they had pizza a plenty on the menu and there was room for two so it was a no brainer really.
The white walls and pictures dotted about make this a nice clean welcoming space, they are making the best out of quite a narrow building, and there is a wood burning pizza oven at the back of the ground floor room which makes for a very attractive centrepiece. There is also another room upstairs which seemed to be pretty full on this busy Sunday lunchtime.
The guys running this place originally hail from Naples and this is reflected in the style of pizza. They come with a nice char on the crust and have a flavoursome but quite doughy base. There is an extensive selection of Pizze Bianche which comes without the tomato sauce but we plumped for the tried and tested on this occasion. B had a lovely looking Bianco 43 with cherry tomato, ricotta and mozzarella while I plumped for the meaty Capricciosa. Both were very tasty and, when washed down with a glass of the very reasonably priced house white, made for a great pre movie lunch.
We skipped starters but the selection the two young ladies sitting next to us had looked very good and the short dessert menu also looked very appealing.
We both finished off our meal with a decent Illy macchiato which was not on the coffee menu but seemed to be no bother to make.
The staff were very friendly without being overbearing. The other punters were very Greenwich,but in a good way, with a mix of same and mixed sex couples with a few families with youngish children. Just for the record I would say this is not a place best suited to babies and buggies.
While not setting the world alight, Franco Manca it is not, this is a nice place to eat although it's not somewhere I would want to spend a whole evening in (although we were in no way rushed through our meal I did notice that people did seem to come and go around us pretty quickly - I guess it's just that kind of place). However, I have no doubt we will be back again in the not too distant future.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Food 7 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7
Went here for lunch on Friday; it was my first visit to this old school "Scottish" themed classic in over 6 years and not much appeared to have changed other than the introduction of the cigar terrace upstairs.
After leaving my coat with the charming lady at the entrance I made my way through to the main room and joined the "legal eagle" at the lovely zinc bar where we had a cold glass of Morretti before being shown to our table. There was some confusion as we thought we had reserved a table in the more casual bar out back but we were given a great table for two in the main restaurant. After a bit of debate with our helpful waitress it was agreed that we could keep our table and still order from the bar menu (confusing I know but at the Boisdale they have a different bar and restaurant menu and never the twain will normally meet).
Continuing our quest for the best burger in town we both went for the "dangerously hot" offering; a medium rare Aberdeen Angus rib steak pattie topped with chipotle chilli ketchup, red onion and jalapeños. It came in a seeded bun with a bowl of thick cut chips on the side. All in all it was pretty tasty, the burger had nice char and a good meaty flavour. The down side was that it could have been a little more moist and it was certainly not "dangerously hot" as advertised. However, I would say that most of the boys, and the smaller number of girls, in the Boisdale this Friday lunchtime did not appear to be the types who would be well acquainted with the delights of the chilli so it may well be that the regular punters would have found this pretty hot.
Service was quick and we found our waitress attentive without being overbearing. I was deep in conversation with the "legal eagle" during our lunch but this can be a good spot for a bit of people watching if you are in the mood to observe the old school approach to afternoon indulgence.
The menu here is big on meat and comfort food with a healthy nod to its "Scottish" branding. It has a very good wine list and a great selection of whiskey but beware the prices are all a bit eye watering!! This is not a place to come if you are looking to bag a bargain or you want something to write home about in the way of your lunch or dinner. However, if you fancy a bit of a posh school food blow out, followed by a nice cigar and a dram or two, this is as good a spot as any in town.
I will not be rushing back here in a hurry but I do look forward to a return visit in another 5 years or so. The quest continues!!
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Food 6 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 6
In my humble opinion this is probably the finest "steakhouse" in town. I was treated to dinner here on Saturday night, many thanks to B, and it was a wonderful experience in every respect.
We kicked off our evening by grabbing a couple of stools at the bar and settled in for a cheeky cocktail. After a brief consultation with the very affable fella tending the bar I plumped for Shaky Pete's Ginger Beer while B had the Marmalade Cocktail, both from the Anti- Fogmatic section of the very extensive drinks menu. Excellent drinks, expertly made and lovingly presented, they certainly lifted the spirit and put us in the mood for the soon to come meat feast. At £7.50 a throw I thought this was pretty decent value given the location.
After finishing our drinks we wandered through to the main room which is a very impressive "industrial" type space with exposed brickwork and blackboards dotted about showing the sharing cuts of meat and the weights that are available (be warned the smaller sizes where getting crossed of pretty quick).
We kicked off by ordering up some sparkling water which B thought would help with the digestion of the beast we planned on devouring later. We also had a 500 ml flask of the Torrontes Finca La Linda, Luigi Bosca 2010 from the very well put together wine list which had plenty of decent bottles at under £25.00 (trust me for this kind of place in central London that’s good pricing). This was a lovely fragrant floral white that went down well when paired with the oysters and the very tasty little beef sausages we shared as a starter.
The main event was a 900g Porterhouse bad boy from Longhorn cattle reared in the lovely county of Yorkshire. To my mind the Porterhouse is probably the finest cut of beef and we ordered it medium rare as suggested by our lovely waitress Isabella. We paired this up with a 500ml flask of the Moulin Montarels Syrah 2008 which was nice easy drinking and went down very well.
When the beast arrived it was a joy to behold, with a great looking char and vivid red flesh. The smell wafting up from serving dish was divine and I was sorely tempted to grab a chunk and eat the thing by hand. Going with the advice of Isabella we shared a portion of the Stilton Hollandaise which, as she suggested, was more than enough for two. On the side we had a portion of the beef dripping chips and also the triple cooked chips. These were pretty good but not quite the standard of chip that we had at "Dinner" a couple of weeks ago.
However, that’s a very minor quibble because the steak was fantastic and I would say it was the best I have ever had in London. If you are a fan of good steak I would recommend this place without hesitation; if you like the Gaucho chain I would definitely give Hawksmoor a try because in the steak world this is very near the top of the premier league.
Somehow we still managed to squeeze a dessert in and we shared a portion of caramel ice cream and peanut butter shortbread which was very toothsome indeed.
Thoroughly stuffed by this point we retired back to the bar, which was pretty heaving by now and was playing host to some very “happy” people. We had a couple of the Square Mile coffee martinis, a great way to get a caffeine and alcohol hit at the end of the meal, and spent a fun hour chatting and people watching.
This is not a cheap night out by any means, but I think that overall you get pretty good value for your hard earned cash. You will be treated very well by the casually attired but very professional staff and any special requests you have regarding particular cuts of meat etc will be met if you let them know in advance.
I'm already looking forward to going back to spend an evening in the bar and try one of the legendary Hawksmoor burgers.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 9
With my rediscovery of the delights of the South London Gallery this is fast becoming my local cafe of choice.
I dropped in last week after a spending an hour, or maybe it was two, at the Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard exhibition "PUBLICSFEAR". It's quite a demanding round up of their work so I was more than happy to stumble out of the gloom in the main gallery and into the welcoming arms of the lovely staff at cafe No 67.
The cafe is situated in the restored terraced house which the gallery has expanded into over the past year or two. There is a large dining table out back, a wonderful light and spacious room which looks out to the garden. This room can be booked for private parties or shared with others during the day. In the cafe itself there are 8 or so tables for couples, which can be joined together if you are in a larger group. For when the weather improves, or if you are in need of a smoke, there are also a few tables in the garden which is very fragrant space with a lovely selection of herbs. There are also some outside tables at the front of the cafe, which is a little more urban.
Excellent coffee is provided by the Union company and the staff here make a great skinny latte but on this occasion I was feeling a little shaky and I was after something a little stronger. After half an hour in the dark with the music of J Spaceman and subliminal messaging from Mr Forsyth and Ms Pollard I needed a beer …. after toying with the idea of a Modelo I went straight for a bottle of Vedett and a portion of the very comforting Welsh rarebit.
The food menu here covers all your needs from morning to evening, with a well edited selection to suit all tastes. If you are hungry and in the mood for brunch I can particularly recommend the "Spanglish" which comes with chargrilled chorizo and morcilla; be careful though because it's a bit of a gut buster and this could ruin you for lunch.
If you are after something lighter the soup is always good and filling; I recently had a lovely bowl of leek and cider soup with some tasty bread on the side which I am still trying to recreate in my own kitchen. Small plates and sandwiches are also available if you don't feel like a full on lunch.
However, if you are in the mood for a proper feast you will not be disappointed. There is a regularly changing selection of 4 or 5 main dishes, all around the £8 mark, which are well executed, beautifully presented and come with some interesting accompaniments. Slow cooked lamb, jerk chicken, fish pie and venison have all been on the menu on my recent visits.
I have never made it to dessert but the cakes and pastries are baked in the kitchen, look wonderful and seem to be very popular.
There is a small selection of interesting and very well priced wines and a good range of soft drinks and smoothies.
As you would imagine, being housed in an art gallery and right next door to Camberwell Art College the punters here are generally an interesting bunch and it's a great spot for people watching. With a good free wifi connection and an excellent book shop next door this is an great place to let a couple of hours slip through your fingers.
Unfortunately for my pals with young sprogs this is not a spot best suited to accommodating small children and buggies although I have seen a few try to struggle in at the weekend.
I feel very lucky to have this lovely cafe on my door step and I'm looking forward to giving it a try as an evening destination. If you’re a foodie art lover who has wandered south of the river this should be top of your "must try" list.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Food 8 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8
Well we, or should I say I as this is not really B's idea of foodie heaven, had been looking forward to this for some time. To deliver on my part of the deal I sat through the afternoon performance of "The Kings Speech", which I must admit I quite enjoyed, at the Greenwich Picture House before we caught the 177 back up the road to New Cross and began the hunt for #Meateasy.
We arrived a little before 6pm and found the blackboard outside the Goldsmiths Tavern which directed us round the back. So it was up the fire escape to a reasonably large room which houses the kitchen, a bar, the "restaurant" and one hell of a good vibe before the first burgers were even on the grill.
Raffle tickets in hand we found one of the few remaining tables; even at this very early hour many had made the trek south of the river to worship at the altar of #Meateasy. Your seating, like the plates and eating irons, is basic but very functional. You will find the menu marked up on the wall along with the literary wallpaper; the lighting was on the atmospheric side but I'm pretty sure I was looking at some late era pictures of the Doctor though didn't feel the need to get close enough to check out the text. Hunter would have been right at home here.
B made her way to the bar and ordered up a couple of fine margaritas which came served in a jam jar at a very reasonable £6.50 a pop while I was left with the job of putting together our meal. After a bit of internal debate I was good to go and while I was at the bar ordering the second cocktail of the night our number was called; this threw me for a moment because I had planned on having a bottle of the fine Meantime beer with my burger but when the lord calls .....
B's chicken burger turned up first - love the way they shout out your name when your order is ready - which was finger licking good. Crispy coating with a moist tasty bird inside. My cheeseburger turned up shortly after and it was a sight to behold ....well, only for a second before I chowed down into this charred, rare beast of a thing. Juices dribbling down the chin and a wild look in the eyes according to my companion! The bun, the cheese and the pickles all played a great supporting role and are to be applauded.
The onion rings we had as a side were plump, crispy and had a very appealing sweet tang. The thin fries were much less successful, a bit limp and lukewarm but what the hell, I didn't give a damn with a burger this good.
The punters were a mixture of the beautiful, a couple of the damned and hardly anyone who was dangerous to know - which is pretty unusual in this neck of the woods. We left around 7.30, with the place heaving but happy, in search of a little piece of sanity down the road in our old time stand by, the Montague Arms.
If you have ever been in love with the burger I would suggest that you make every possible effort to visit #Meateasy before it closes in March. I would consider selling the car, mortgaging the house and many other things that I should not go into on a family-orientated website, but you get the picture. However, worry not because my bad, bad boy of a burger was only £6. So meat lovers ... for once be good to yourselves.
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 9