20 March 2016
East Dulwich frequently misses out on pop ups to its cool younger cous, Peckham… up until now, that is. So having sampled Lordship Lane’s Platform 1 in its previous incarnations, we were intrigued to give the delightfully-monikered ‘Sprig’ a go. The latest chef to take brief residency in this long, skinny and rather awkward space was only pencilled in for a couple of weeks (rather than the standard few months), so we nipped in quick. First up, amuse bouches - including stuffed tapioca crisp and beetroot tartare - were beautifully presented; arranged, framed and labelled like a zoologist’s bounty. Each following course was a fresh balance of lively texture and flavour, with only the main proving less popular. (The combination of glazed celeriac, fregola and kombu seemed heavy after such a spritely roll-call of ingredients). The bill soon totted up; 30 quid for five veggie courses wasn't unreasonable, but cocktails - though bang tidy - made for a pricey night. Each week showcases another experiment behind the bar; this time round, it was kumquat infusions and gin perfumed with Earl Grey that added welcome twists to old classics. The ever-changing wine list straddles lesser-known territories and indigenous varieties, but that also adds up; what I’d assumed was a 500ml carafe of godello at 18 quid was actually a half bottle (although the mistake was entirely mine, and it was a cracking wine). Staff were cool and clued up in equal measure, but sidestepped pretentiousness thanks to oodles of enthusiasm about the latest batch of newbies in the kitchen. Tiny culinary teams lead to limited menus, so go with an open mind and leave fusspots at home. Currently, there are fishy goings on thanks to chef Lee Skeet of Claridges alumni (among notable others), but I was assured that other dietary requirements are catered for if flagged in advance. Well worth a visit if you’re feeling adventurous and up for a slight splurge, plus the outdoor decking will be a glorious urban oasis when the sun finally puts its hat on.