You won't be charged for this service.
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.
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28 January 2013
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.
08 October 2012
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.
02 November 2010
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.
24 October 2010
I've lived in East Dulwich for nearly two years now and had been waiting for a special occasion to visit Franklins (waiting on account of the high prices). I went last week wth a friend and have to say that despite the warm atmosphere and friendly service I can't recommend the restaurant. At £21 for a steak with no accompaniment (chips and watery cabbage an extra £3 each) I was expecting something fairly special. I tend to steer clear of dishes which I know I can cook pretty well at home and steak is one of those. What turned up was a very ordinary tasting piece of meat with little of the juicy flavour the pricetag promised. My friend had the venison which came with no sauce or gravy and didn't pack nearly enough flavour with the bland bulghur wheat accompaniment not helping the situation. The chips were very good though if that does anything to balance the criticism.
Regardless of the ethical provinence of its ingredients Franklins needs to offer value for money if they are going to convince me to recommend them to anyone.
01 September 2009
It's certainly atmospheric, and the menu looks extremely interesting and ambitious. It's just that they can't really produce it to a high enough standard.
I ordered pigeon, and it was so raw I had to send it back – not pink and juicy, just red and bloody. The girlfriend was hardly overwhelmed by her plaice either.
It's not great food and not good value, but the place does have a certain charm. Maybe drinks and nibbles are the safest option…
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