South London’s newest dining experience, The Honor Oak, has recently opened its doors after an expensive refurbishment with the aim to restore it back to its former glory days as a popular community hub in South East London. Whenever a pub opens that bids farewell to the days of the old man pub I breathe a sigh of relief; mustard walls, brown curtains and sticky bars are banished here in lieu of classic moss-coloured walls, hand-cut silhouettes for decoration and industrial looking light features.
The menu keeps true to British flavours with Chef Robert Radcliffe in the kitchen drawing on his 10 years' experience in some of London's finest pub dining establishments, while the bar offers a selection of local cask ales, craft beers and cocktails.
The Seared Scottish Scallops with Cauliflower Puree, Crisp Pancetta and Wild Mushrooms makes for a really tender and well-cooked starter although it was perhaps a little on the salty side. You can watch your food being prepared in the open plan kitchen as mains like the Broccoli & Stilton Tart, Chicory & Apple Salad are cooked. The Roast Cod served with Parsley Mash, Braised Baby Gem and Mustard Sauce was an amazing main; a good blend of flavours and perfectly cooked flaky fish.
Unfortunately on the night that we attended they didn’t have the fruit purees required to make their signature cocktails but the resident mixologist whipped up a delicious Tropical Punch and Cosmo which did the trick just fine.
We ended the night with the Dark Chocolate Mousse, Poached Pear and Raspberry Milkshake; a delightful trio of puddings served on a slate. The mousse was more reminiscent of a truffle than a mousse but had such a delightful, indulgent, creamy texture that no complaints can be made. Lemon fans, prepare your taste buds for the Lemon Posset served with Lavender Shortbread, as it will fulfil all of your citrus desires in a creamy lemon custard-like dish filled with zest.
Although The Honor Oak is situated in the bustling area of London’s Forest Hill the venue boasts an outside terrace, perfect for relaxing and even al fresco dining. In fact, if taking a break from the lively hustle of the neighbourhood is your aim, then you are spoilt for choice; whether you want to grab a drink in the fully refurbished bar, while away the afternoon catching up with friends and getting stuck into their menu or simply try to catch the last of the summer rays in the garden, it's time to make this the gastropub of choice.