For some strange reason I rarely go to a pub for a meal. Why? I have no idea. We have our fair share of pubs and adjoining bistro’s in the Inner West of Sydney yet I seldom take a moment and see what the food is all about. On our recent visit to London we stayed in East Dulwich at Miss K’s house located a mere five minutes from the centre of this vibrant little village. The main drag, Lordship Lane, is lined with your usual scattering of Indian restaurants, a great deli, cafe’s, a greasy spoon, bakeries and a couple of supermarkets. It’s all pretty self contained and I can see why she and her partner Mr H bought a place here. Village atmosphere, quiet and only about half an hour by bus to the centre of London.
From the couple of watering-holes you can find in the village Mr K and I decided to grab lunch at The Palmerston, a classic old gastro pub that we missed out on trying last time we were in town a few years ago. It’s all very cosy. There’s the main front area decked out with wooden tables and upholstered benches, big windows and what looks like the original bar from god-knows when. At the back is a wood-panelled dining room arted-up with eclectic paintings and sculptures, an open fireplace and mosaic floor.
Menu-wise there’s a decent selection of seasonal modern-Brit offerings as well as the odd Mediterannean and Asian dish, all formulated by chef Jamie Younger. For a good value grab we chose the 2-course set lunch menu. Choice of two starters, choice of two mains = £12. Bargain.
To start things off we lube ourselves up with a couple of pints of something-on-tap and as we munch on the complimentary sourdough we decide on trying everything on offer. Whatever Mr K didn’t have, I did, and vice versa. Despite the warm weather outside and the glaring sun streaming into the window, Mr K has the delicious bowl of Normandy onion soup. It’s creamy, it’s topped with croutons and crisp sage leaves and it’s deceptively large. Good for me as I got the last tasty few spoonfuls.
It’s not often I have sardines but for a touch of the sunny Mediterannean in downtown SE22 I decided “why not?”. These little chaps come grilled on a nest of rocket and a good dose of sweet sun-dried tomato relish. Smoky, charred, oily and just beautiful. Perfect with a cold pint of whatever-we’re drinking.
The mains arrive unfrilled and honest and the first is this – a grilled Dedham Vale leg of lamb steak slouched in tender glory over a buttery splodge of mash and black olive & rosemary gravy. I do fancy a bit of stodge. Only one problem. I didn’t order this one, but I did get the sloppy seconds.
I guess my inner glutton was craving seafood as I went for the enormous whole baked rainbow trout. Another deceptively large portion in a deep and scalding ramekin simply decorated with fresh dill. Beneath the rich and silky trout is a bed of soft and sweet baked fennel swimming in white wine and lemon. Somehow (maybe it was all the picking at someone elses food and all the beer) I struggled to get through it, but I did.