Tuesday 18 May 2010

The Florence - Herne Hill

As far as pubs go, it's not often I eat in them, with some exceptions. More often than not, pub menus are littered with Thai green curries sat alongside burgers, lasagne and that pub favourite - fish and chips served disappointingly with pea puree. The Florence, in Herne Hill dahn Saaf East is different though. I first visited when The Meatwagon was cooking up some burgers. A cultish following, much has been said and blogged about their burgers. A hole was cut into the garden fence, the van was parked up, the beer garden packed to the rafters and they sold out of everything by 8pm. For them to have arranged this I figured they must be pretty serious about the food, so a mere two days later, I was back.

At 3pm on a sunny Saturday afternoon, the beer garden was again, packed. Prams everywhere, children toddling around, I wondered why they weren't dumped in the soundproof crèche that had been built three months previously. I'm not a particularly child-friendly person when hungover and seeking recovery down the boozer. Mussels and chips (£8) were perfect; sweet, plump flesh were in a cider, cream and leek sauce. Chips were crispy and salty and the mayonnaise tasted home-made. Just as I was considering picking up the bowl to drink the sauce out of, spoons appeared - "you looked like you were at that crucial sauce slurping stage". Top marks for attentive service.

A few hours later when the kids were wheeled off to bed and the walk to the bar became a bit more wobbly, we had some buttermilk fried chicken served with a coleslaw dip. Juicy and delicious, we scorched our fingers trying to stuff them in our drunken faces. There was no hint of the usual dry or stringy chicken; apparently they use a Thomas Keller reciepe whereby the chicken is brined and then marinated in the buttermilk. It's a winning bar snack.

So, another good reason to live South East. I will be back imminently (and not just because I left my bank card there); great staff, a (slightly amorous) pub dog, and I saw a burgers go past that were double patties. Meaty goodness.

The Florence

131-133 Dulwich Road
SE24 0NG

Tel: 020 7326 4987

The Florence on Urbanspoon


Helen said...

The Florence could easily be in East Dulwich with that pram posse but it's still a great pub I agree. Tasty candles.

Chris Pople said...

I did the same thing as you - tried to eat the chicken straight away when it was still far too hot. I burned my tongue but it was worth it.

Melanie Seasons said...

Their Suday roast is amazing too. The Yorkshire puddings are as tall as the ceiling!

Unknown said...

Buttermilk fried chicken sounds fantastic. Love the line "I will be back imminently (and not just because I left my bankcard there)"! So true!

Emmanuel said...

If you ever venture back dahn Saaf East I highly recommend a fairly new pub by Loughborough Junction, the Cambria http://www.thecambrialondon.com/. Food is absolutely amazing, head chef used to work at the Ivy apparently...

The Pub Diaries said...

With the Prince Regent down Dulwich Road it could quite easily be renamed Nappy Valley... saying that... is it illegal to train kids to go to the bar?

Unknown said...

Pea puree: arghh! Signifier of an unimaginative kitchen, but everything else looks and sounds delicious. Beer garden, good beer, good food - such a rare combination. Good to know about, thanks.

Vishinsky said...

It all looks good and making me hungry!

Grumbling Gourmet said...

Loving the gourmet revolution occurring around SE5 and environs. Come one, come all (as long as I can still get a table when I want one!

I became aware of the Florence after their rebrand a few years ago when a great mate of mine worked there. It's great for a frosty ale on a summer day after a hungover walk in the park.


The Grubworm said...

Buttermilk fried chicken - that sounds like proper down home cookin' of the finger lickin' (and tongue burnin') variety. Delicious, Not sure abotu amorous dog though ;-)

Cate said...

Have tried their cider and chips only. Tasty. Good service. Impressed with the size of the place and the fact that kids not allowed in front bar.

Hollow Legs said...

Helen - True. Damn these parents and them wanting to take their broods out!

Chris - Definitely worth it.

Melanie - I tried the Sunday roast a week later. The pork belly was awesome, the beef also good.

GC - The chicken was so delicious. I have endeavoured not to leave my card there, but alas - it happened again a mere week later.

Emmanuel - The Cambria looks quite posh, loving the furniture.

The Pub Diaries - I reckon kids would make excellent drink-fetchers. As long as they kept quiet.

Laura N - Pea puree is, indeed, an abomination. Especially when you're expecting mushy peas.

Vishinsky - thanks!

Grumbling Gourmet - I am also loving the South East love. It's very handy to Brockwell Park, you're right.

The Grubworm - The amorous dog is a sweetie really ;-) The buttermilk chicken was a winner. I am going to try to recreate it.

Cate - I think kids aren't allowed in any front bars, but I could well be mistaken.