Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Prince Regent, Herne Hill

The Prince Regent Herne Hill

South East London can seem a bit of barren wasteland in the culinary stakes if you believe the hype. Most of the big guides on food in the city mumble in a slightly desultory manner about the odd gastropub or brasserie and then get back to North of the river, where having a few packets of peanuts and maybe the odd pack of Frazzels behind the bar gets you a write up in the Observer Food Monthly and an inevitable appearance from Kate Moss and Pete Doherty. Not that either of them would be touching the Frazzels.

Unfortunately, it's probably true. South East London is a bit of a food wasteland. Sure, there are farmers markets and excellent deli's and food shops (The East Dulwich Deli is a peach if ludicrously overpriced and Peckham has the quite brilliant Persepolis) but it is short on outstanding restaurants. Well, actually it isn't. It's jam packed full of them, it's just that they aren't the sort of restaurants that get raved about. They tend to be good, honest and unpretentious, doing what they do in a quiet, understated way. A smattering of very good Indians, a clutch of pizza places, more than one West Indian gem.

However, this is changing. As more and more money flocks to the SE post codes the Audi TT driving, rugby shirt wearing middle class masses are descending and with them the gastropubs and chains are flowering. A battle map reveals we've lost all points Dulwich and most of Lordship Lane, Blackheath is long gone, Crystal Palace is still in the fight, even heartland's like Peckham, New Cross and Lewisham are not immune.

It would be churlish and just plain silly to suggest that this is all a bad thing. It's mostly me just noticing a few more Gourmet Burger Companies and even the odd Costa Coffee springing up. It won't be long till Starbucks lands. There are of course inevitable benefits. The Prince Regent in Herne Hill is indicative. It's a nice space, they make a good burger, some lovely looking fish and chips and a decent steak and they can pour a decent Guinness. We had a Saturday lunch there and it was nice to have a pint with the sunshine pouring into through the windows and mull over the menu. I imagine they might even have some Frazzels behind the bar.


lobstersquad said...

Hi Monkey Gland
I´ve tagged you for a meme, I hope you don´t mind.

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Sam said...

You can take the girl ourt of sarf east london, but you can't take sarf east london out of the girl.
*sigh you're making me miss greenwich which I always loves for its melange of tenants, from working class right up to almost aristocracy.

the taste of britain is happily flying away across the ocean towards me