Having recently made the transition from old man’s boozer to gastropub – just as the word “gastropub” has lost all meaning, according to Zagat’s restaurant guide – the spacious and beautifully decorated establishment attracts a grown-up crowd of well-heeled locals.
THE GRUB: The avocado and prawn cocktail starter served in a Martini glass doesn’t even try to hide its 1970s influence but is no less enticing for it. We also try the ham hock and chicken croquettes served with piccalilli, which lack inspiration but are tasty enough. For mains, we order the steak and Guinness pie served with mash and gravy. It is hearty and warming, like all good pies should be.
The guinea fowl breast and confit leg is well-cooked and satisfyingly rich but a little less meat and more of the creamy leeks and peas, and fondant potatoes wouldn’t go astray. From the desserts, we try decadent banoffee pie, sporting the thickest layer of cream I’ve ever seen on a sweet. That, along with the large portion of the deliciously cocoa chocolate and amaretti mousse, sends our cholesterol levels
to the moon.
BEHIND THE BAR: The wine list has been put together by someone with a sense of adventure and features a selection from the old world and the new. We plump for a Nieto Reserve Malbec 2010, which perfectly complements the pie.
BILL PLEASE: A 12.5 per cent service charge is levied, but the menu makes clear that this is distributed among staff, as it damned well should be.
VERDICT: The Rosendale is very good indeed, and goes some way to making the term “gastropub” meaningful again. With a few tweaks it could be sensational – the kind of destination you would cross town for.
65 Rosendale Rd, SE21 8EZ
Tube: West Dulwich
Review: Alison Grinter