We were all very sad to hear back in September that The Dairy in Clapham was closing…. and then very happy a week later when it was announced it was moving to Bermondsey, opening in the new Bermonds Locke Hotel. And then in another twist to the tale, Robin Gill announced at the start of October that, just a few weeks after opening, it was having to change its name from The Dairy to Bermondsey Larder. We’re not quite sure what went on there but suffice to say, it doesn’t really matter, as Robin’s food is always brilliant, whatever the restaurant’s called.
The room itself maybe isn’t the best designed restaurant around, feeling more like a cafe than a proper restaurant, but what the surroundings lack in cosiness, the food more than makes up for. It’s hard to pass up a mini sourdough loaf with whipped herb butter to start while you have a look at the menu, as well as some of the house pickles and preserves which are all made in-house.
Dexter rump beef tartare with shallot and thyme buttermilk is a perfect autumnal starter and bettered only by a little crisp tartlet filled with smoked eel brandade and curls of pink candy beetroot. Both dishes are stunners and must orders in our book.
For the main, we went for the whole mackerel which is for “two to share” although in reality it’s not a huge fish and you could easily polish it off solo if you were hungry. The fish was beautifully cooked, charred lightly over the grill, and served with a bowl of clams, mussels and samphire. Simple but sublime.
It pays to be fairly restrained in the early courses because before you get dessert you’ll want to get the toasted bread with fig jam and melted truffled Baron Bigod. You can order it earlier on the meal if you want, but we reckon saving it for a ‘cheese course’ is the one. Rounding it all off nicely is a malt barley choux bun with chocolate salted caramel for dessert.
There’s a very solid list of natural wines on offer too and staff are very knowledgeable about what’s on offer – the team often make visits to visit producers so they really know their stuff. We loved the funky orange Baglio Antico Catarrato Ciello 2019 from Sicily.
Robin Gill is one of London’s best chefs, and with Zebra Riding Club recently opening at Birch too, he’s on a bit of a roll.
153-157 Tower Bridge Rd, Bermondsey, London, SE1 3LW