The Bear 1

296a Camberwell New Road , London, SE5 0RP

4 reviews

37 Gastropub Camberwell

  • The Bear Freehouse 2007 - thebear 2
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  • The Bear Freehouse 2007 - P9309739

SquareMeal Review of The Bear

This dimly lit boozer, with its antique dressers, vintage bric-a-brac & board games, provides a welcoming Bear hug in an area that sometimes feels less than inviting. Beer lovers are treated to a steady rotation of well-kept cask ales & bottled imports such as Coopers Sparkling Ale from Australia. Wine lovers are also well catered for, with a choice selection of good-value bins. The daily changing food menu combines French country cooking with seasonal British ingredients, hence snails, bacon & wild garlic are combined in a pie, & tender guinea fowl is served with girolles. Sunday lunches are especially popular & generally include three meats – pork belly, lamb shoulder & rib of beef, say – plus a fish & vegetarian dish. Upstairs, an events space plays host to regular exhibitions & gigs.

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8.5

Food & Drink: 8.3

Service: 8.8

Atmosphere: 8.5

Value: 8.8

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

BoatLady platinum reviewer 17 May 2012

The Bear managed to put me at my ease despite being well out of my comfort zone in this part of town! We popped in to pick something up (well, 2 dogs) from a friend, ended up staying for a drink, ended up staying for food, ended up staying for the pub quiz. Decor fits in the reasonably familiar theme of ‘modern traditional’ with old style pub tables/chairs, darkish walls and wood galore, enormous stuffed bear on the bar. There's a reasonable range of house wines (5/6 of each colour) as well as the ales and ciders which you'd expect from a freehouse. The menu has the normal pub stalwarts, steaks, pies etc, which look reasonably appetising but I think the quality was fairly mixed. My onglet was so chewy it was not easy eating but the dogs, who got the lion's share as they bypass molars and swallow things whole, gave it 3 woofs out of 5 for flavour. On the upside, the battered fish was very tasty and the side of fries was enormous, so it was reasonable value for money, although mains falls in the not particularly cheap £12-18ish bracket. Service is relaxed and friendly without compromising efficiency, and bonus points to the very personable quizmaster. The Bear seems to have a fairly loyal following which gives the pub a wonderfully warm, neighbourhood atmosphere in which regulars happily talk to strangers (and their dogs!). I imagine the locals are delighted to have this on their doorstep.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Brigit 22 August 2011

I use this restaurant/pub perhaps twice a week and on many Sundays. I am never hassled out and can sit and read the Sunday papers and frankly just enjoy the atmosphere and other customers. The pub is large and airy and full of interesting object and period pictures, the music seems to be in tune with the age and type of customers at the time. How do they do that ? I take my dog sometimes – the staff hurry over with a bowl and biscuits, it really is like going to friends in the country and hard to remember I am in Camberwell. Families come and go and birthdays seem to happen every Sunday, whilst the charming staff seem genuinely keen to please. On to the food: The food is long slow cooked and French in feeling. The chef/owner is apparently a local lad, though never seen. He clearly has a passion and everything is seasonal and fresh. The menu changes slightly with deletions and additions each day. There is confit of duck and pigeon with lentils and plenty of comfort food. There are flashes of brilliance, clams with chorizo, a salad of peach, mozzarella and mint and innovative gratins with fennel and salsify and decent French cheese, a champagne jelly with gooseberry fool and a margarita ice cream with meringues. I am told this is a family run pub and my worry is they sell up and move on up to higher climes, and leave us bereft in South London.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Jonathan B. 03 January 2009

This is an excellent neighbourhood gastropub, a handsome interior with very friendly service and reasonably priced food. Highly recommended for weekend brunch on bright, clear afternoons with the sun streaming through the large windows.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 5.0

Butter B. 10 October 2008

Having eaten there several times, this pub is consistently excellent. It's the place locals are talking about in terms of being the best food in the area (better than the excellent Dark Horse). The food is quite typical of gastropubs, but being in Camberwell they have to try that bit harder. So portion sizes are generous because people around here are quite sensitive about getting value for money too. Having eaten in pubs which are more celebrated on these pages – such as in East Dulwich – I can honestly say The Bear goes toe-to-toe with the best of them.

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