Posts Tagged ‘gastropubs in London’

crab claw (£8) at the Well gastropub in Clerkenwell

There are very few things I miss about working in Canary Wharf, and lunch at the Gun is one of them. So two Fridays ago, when our friends suggested we meet for dinner at the Well, whose owners also own the Gun, I was thrilled.  A quick glance at TimeOut’s review of the Well revealed that the Well was running a 50% off food promotion, which sweetened the deal.

roasted scallops (~£9)

Several of the tables at the Well (including ours) are extremely close to the door.  Which means it’s cold what with all that traffic in and out.  But the place was lively, and pints with good friends have a way of warming you up.

The food, though, was worthwhile once we took 50% off the menu price.  At menu prices (starters at around £8 or £9 and mains were £15 to £20), the Well strikes me as too expensive for the quality.  I appreciate how, once you get the discount, it’s tough to imagine paying double what you did, but my roasted scallops, for example, weren’t great and weren’t awful, either.  How do you put a price on that?   £4.50 seemed alright for this level of cooking, but at £9, I’d be upset.

rabbit pie

My rabbit pie was similarly alright.  The filling was more soupy than I like, and I had to dig around to find the bits of rabbit, so again, at £7.50, I’m tolerant, and at £15, I’m outraged.

For starters, mains, shared desserts and drinks, we paid £31 a person, which felt fair.  And if the food hadn’t been 50% off, I would’ve felt ripped off.  The Well may share owners with the Gun, but I think that’s about all they have in common, as I recall the Gun being pricey, but worth the price.

Which is all to say:  go to the Well only for drinks with friends, or if you can get the 50% off food deal.

The Well, 180 St. John Street, EC1V 4JY; 0207 251 9363; closest tube station;  Farringdon
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The Garrison gastropub near(ish) London Bridge

The Garrison gastropub near(ish) London Bridge

Last weekend was memorably sunny (I’ve lived in London long enough to say things like “I remember that sunny week in April 2007”), so Jon and I headed to the South Bank, one of our favorite places to walk in good weather. Instead of our usual walk west past the Globe and Tate Modern, we headed east towards Tower Bridge to meet our friends Andy and Maggie for lunch at one of their fave gastropubs, the Garrison.

The Garrison has a bright, cheery interior with high ceilings. It feels old and modern at the same time, and it was packed last weekend, as many good gastropubs are. Eating lunch at a gastropub on weekends is the closest ritual here to having brunch, I think.

pork-and-sage meatloaf at the Garrison

pork-and-sage meatloaf at the Garrison

The food options were homey and eclectic. You had classics like roast beef (which looked rare and good, though a bit meagre), and you had a few surprises, like Maggie’s homemade herb-stuffed ravioli.

Me, I couldn’t resist the meatloaf. I haven’t had meatloaf in about ten years. Upon ordering, I worried a bit that I’d end up with a dense brick of meat, a la school cafeteria lunches of days past. But I shouldn’t have worried. My meatloaf was almost – fluffy! There must have been a lot of breadcrumbs in there, because if I closed my eyes, I’d swear I was eating a matzoh ball made of pork. [Oh, wouldn’t that be ironic!?] I enjoyed the juicy, meaty, “lightness” of it, and the slightly-firm, bright veg on the side were also great. The potatoes were stale, which was too bad. I’ll bet when they came out of the oven, they were magnificently crispy.

salmon fillet and veg at the Garrison

salmon fillet and veg at the Garrison

For the healthier among you (Jon, my make-me-look-bad husband), the fish options were good, too, but why eat fish when you can have meatloaf? Obviously.

Service was cheery, but really, really slow. Your classic two-servers-for-a-hundred people scenario. The tables looked more comfy than the booths, oddly enough. Our booth seemed proportioned for, I dunno, leprechauns(?) (and I am not a tall person), so prepare to have your knees knocked up a bit if you end up at a booth.

The Garrison was a lively, pretty place, and if it were in my neighborhood, I’d be there all the time. But it’s about a 15-minute walk from London Bridge station, so I’ll go back only if I’m taking visitors out to see the Tower of London/Tower Bridge. Andy and Maggie love the breakfasts there, but note that the Garrison stops serving brekkie at 11, which is a bit early for me.

Most starters cost about £5; most mains £14/£15. Our total tab for main courses only, coffees and (my fave) Luscombe lemonades came to about £20 a person.

The Garrison, 99-101 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XB, 0207 089 9355; closest tube station: London Bridge

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