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157 Lordship Lane
This Dulwich veteran still looks the part after many years’ service and maintains its commitment to careful, seasonal sourcing. The menu is ‘blissfully free from affectations regarding provenance’,
and with a farm shop next door ‘you know it’s good stuff’ – from spring chicken paired with quinoa, peas, salsify and broad beans to plaice embellished with samphire, fennel and saffron aïoli.
Desserts are pure comfort (rice pudding with rhubarb, for example), or you can finish with something savoury such as Scotch woodcock. The gorgeous gilt-topped bar gets rammed with drinkers knocking
back old-school cocktails, but things are more mellow in the downstairs dining room; either way, service copes well with the needs of boozy Sunday lunches and casual midweek suppers. Be warned that
bills can stack up, especially with sides at £3 a pop.
To celebrate the Year of the Woman, SquareMeal is running a series of interview profiles with top female chefs. Read here about Marianne Lumb’s colourful career as a private chef and the benefits of operating one of London’s smallest kitchens.
Best in South-East
157 Lordship Lane
North Dulwich Station 853m
East Dulwich Station 898m
Dulwich College 1km
Dulwich Picture Gallery 1km
Mon-Sun 12N-11pm (Thurs-Sun -12M)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
I am rather partial to a mishapen squash by way of decoration. You’ll find plenty scattered around Franklins, draped across tables or fighting for knobbly elbow room at the gorgeous, gilt-topped bar. The menu is blissfully free from obnoxious affectations regarding provenance; you just know it’s good stuff (if the farm shop next door is anything to go by).
Cocktails are old-school; I’ll never complain about a sultry Black Velvet for £7. But I wasn’t wowed by my towering roast pork and crackling. Though piled high and succulent, the ingredients looked a bit beige and kinda tasted that way too. There was a distinct lack of greenery, and we’d foresaken a veg side in expectation of ‘all the trimmings’. Roast beef was tastier, and served with a pillowy yorkshire jazzed up by fresh herbs and horseradish.
I was pipped to the post for the last portion of honeycomb ice cream – damn you, Dulwich children and your elite tastes – but a slice of treacle tart proved a refined (rather than rib-sticking) pud. The diminutive portion was welcome given the acres of starch we’d just polished off.
The downstairs seating area was pretty and intimate, if lacking the atmosphere and almighty roar from above. The waiters and waitresses were keen and polite but somewhat harrassed, which is forgiveable given the demands of a boozy Sunday lunch crew.
I can’t help but think I’m meant to love this place more than I did. It certainly looked the part and so did the diners, who largely resembled the aging cast of This Life. Fewer chinos than Chelsea, but the uniform was almost exclusively North Face with a latter-day hipster twist. I’ll come back for dinner on a weekday – it looks to be a more mellow occasion, and there’s always something tempting on the menu. But I fear my allegiances may lie with the Palmerston down the road, where you pay a little less for food that’s a little better.
We booked this restaurant for our ten year anniversary as we wanted somewhere special but relatively local. However, we were disappointed; the tables are very small and close together, the noise level was really high and the service was really lacking. Although I ordered the vegetarian option starter I was served the wrong meal, which was a meat dish and had to wait a considerable amount of time for the order to be changed. We had to ask for the wine three times and didn't turn up until after the starter and no side plate or finger bowl with the mussels.
That said, the food was actually ok and the wine was delicious but the overall experience was not to be repeated. It is such a shame as the restaurant has the potential to be great.
Food + drink: 4
t I've been to Franklins 3 times (most recently sep 2010) and each time the food has been brilliant, easily as interesting tasty and genuinely good as the celebrated Anchor & Hope on the Cut or it's sister Great Queen Street in covent garden. Both of which I've regularly dined at…and are fantastic.
The food is similar in style, British eclectic and seasonal, varing enough to make me want to return.
The atmosphere friendly and informal.the price reflects the experience…(i'd ignore the review below)
It's a gastro-bar with an emphasis on quality. I concur with the site review, the best restaurant on Lordship Lane.
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