This East Dulwich stalwart’s small dining room is so quiet and dimly lit of an evening you’d barely know it was part of a pub. Retro lampshades filter an orange glow on to a room decked out with dark wood panelling and a floor of ornate mosaic tiles. Despite an open doorway separating the dining area from the green leather banquette seating and open fire of the main bar, the only sounds are the quiet clink of staff polishing cutlery and the gentle murmur of middle-aged chatter from the couples populating the few well-spaced tables. A pricey menu (two courses and two pints of lager came in at around £70) proved hit-and-miss, with meltingly soft scallops sharing a plate with chewy black pudding, and a portion of refreshing pickled girolles atop not-quite-tart-enough goat’s cheese. This was once the leading light of the East Dulwich gastro revolution, but with dishes that fail to live up to their billing (or pricing), and the current glut of artisanal produce in SE22, it’s hard not to feel that the Palmerston needs to change gear if it’s to keep pace with the competition. There are decent real ales and a sound selection of wines by the glass, but sluggish service certainly doesn’t help – it took 45 minutes from ordering for our starters to appear.