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296a Camberwell New Road
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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Best Private Rooms: >30
296a Camberwell New Road
020 7274 7037
Loughborough Junction Station 928m
Denmark Hill Station 1km
Blue Elephant Theatre 413m
Kennington Park 1km
Tues-Sat 12N-3pm 7-11pm (Wed-Fri -10pm) Sun 12N-4pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
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
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
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.
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