Pubs are difficult things… The Camberwellians among you may remember the kerfuffle when the previous management team were unceremoniously dumped out of the Sun and Doves as was. They fought the tied pub co. and (unsurprisingly) the tied pub co. won.
It was a decent enough boozer, with community outreach aspirations, generic beers, fairly unforgettable grub and a regular film night. The medics from the local hospital who occupied it were friendly enough as long as you didn't try and compete in the hardest quiz night in the area.
When the previous management were finally (and brutally) removed, they stripped all of ‘their’ renovations out with them; fixtures, fittings, wall coverings and bar kit. Looking at the reopened bar, the new tenants have done a pretty good job of, well, leaving it in exactly the same condition. The decor and furniture takes stripped back shabby chic to a new level, this one barely one step up from squat party. As Camberwell is the new wherever achingly hip we're supposed to be, they've pitched it perfectly.
The beer and wine choices are as pedestrian as before, but the menu has been given a spruce. Loosely defined as the kind of gutsy, hearty pub fare you've seen bothering a thousand kilner jars on a thousand wooden chopping boards before.
A muted quinoa and roast vegetable salad was undoubtedly healthy, but as beige a dish in all senses of the word as you could find. As quiet as an unpopular 20 year old's house party and as instantly forgettable.
The lack of oomph sadly extended to a woefully under-powered bavette steak, its normally rich and meaty tang entirely missing in action. It was such an under seasoned tasteless piece of meat that it was virtually eclipsed by its side of cold and over cooked chips, god knows what would have happened if it had come with anything as flavoursome as a Bearnaise…
The thought is definitely there, burgers and sandwiches are perfectly acceptable and generally it's a fine looking classic pub menu, but it doesn't live up to the promise, which is a shame. That being said, it's a pub, not a restaurant, so if you're looking for a quick bite alongside a couple of drinks with friends then take advantage of their lovely beer garden, an excellent selection of tunes and remind yourself that it's who you're with that really matters.