The scene There are two mistakes it is easy to make about Camberwell and The Crooked Well. Firstly, that this less-than-salubrious area of south London has little to prompt a visit. While the walk from the station once offered nothing to persuade otherwise, it now does – The Crooked Well.
The second mistake is that this recently refurbished pub-restaurant is a bit too pretentious for its own good. It’s not. The menu is adventurous, the staff welcoming, and the locals are swiftly making this establishment a talking point that demands a visit.
The grub As the chatty website says, four friends got together to bring you a neighbourhood bar and restaurant, and the menu they’ve concocted goes some way to realising this. It’s gastropub grub done with style, elegance and personality, and the place is becoming renowned for its Sunday roasts.
I kick off with the venison, pheasant and pistachio terrine (sublime) and the sautéed scallops greatly please my shell fish-aficionado dining partner. After momentarily eyeing up the rabbit and bacon pie for two, we plump for the confit duck leg (soft and meltingly yummy) and the pollock, clam and cockle risotto (a flavour-packed delight).
A brief breather allows us time to all but polish off the rouge before tackling the cheese board (with more than enough grapes and quince paste to go round, too).
Behind the bar We await our table with a couple of pints of bitter before sharing a bottle of the Torres Ibericos Rioja, and round things off with cocktails – the Bonfire Margarita (tequila, mescal, lime, Cointreau, agave syrup, pepper and salt rim) and a Salty Dog (Stolichnaya citron, grapefruit juice, lime juice, salt and sugar rim).
Bill please Starters from £4.75; mains from £10.25; desserts from £4.75. Beers from £3.80; wines from £4.20/ £11 per glass/ bottle; and cocktails from £6.
Verdict It’s become a celebrated local with tables highly sought after at weekends and for good reason – it’s pub prices with top-end quality grub and great vibes. Puts Camberwell dining well and truly on the map.
16 Grove Lane, SE5 8SY
Station | Loughborough Junction