Bars and pubs, Pubs Lower Sydenham
3 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(9user reviews)

It’s worth coming here for the garden alone, a formal criss-cross of box, privet and gravel around a central water sculpture, edged by apple trees. The pub’s occasional cultural event programme means you may find live theatre taking place, or a string quartet playing inside. The menu is less adventurous, however, offering pretty standard contemporary pub grub. Our starters of scotch duck egg and mackerel pâté – creamy, almost mousse-like, nudged along by sour capers – were both well executed, but there was more fun to be had with a main course of grilled sardines on toast. The dish showed a kitchen unafraid to go simple and get it right: moist fish, crispy toast and cheekily piquant salsa verde made for perfect alfresco eating. Lamb kofta wasn’t quite as impressive – good meat but the flatbread was a little unhappy – and the unexceptional house white was pricey at £13.90 a bottle. However, the pub has a reasonable range of beers and lagers (Adnams, San Miguel), though it’s poor on perry and cider. Desserts – a nicely paired lemon posset with shortbread biscuit, and a treacle tart with crème fraîche – were more than fine, so we left happy.



Venue name: Dolphin
Address: 121 Sydenham Rd
SE26 5HB
Opening hours: noon-11.30pm Mon-Thur; noon-midnight Fri, Sat; noon-11pm Sun. Lunch served noon-3.30pm, dinner served 6.30-10pm Mon-Fri. Meals served noon-10pm Sat; noon-4pm, 5-9pm Sun.
Transport: Sydenham rail
Price: Main courses £9-£14.95.
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Average User Rating

3.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:1
1 person listening

Lovely garden for sunny afternoons , good range of drinks and nice food.


A traditional looking pub from the outside but inside it is anything but. Furnished in a mismatch of traditional and slightly modern furniture. This is definitely a pub where you come to relax and unwind. A place you can come for a quiet drink by yourself or bring the family. The food is pretty standard, but the pièce de résistance has got to be the garden with ample seating beautifully set around box hedging and well thought out walkways. Great for a summer afternoon down the pub with your mates.

There are four good things about this pub - and one of them makes it a very rare thing.

The first three make it the best pub in Sydenham: a lovely interior, with a laid-back atmosphere; second, a cracking beer garden and third, really nice food and drink.

The fourth, though, is what sets it apart: they are a pub that actually asks parents to make their children behave. Just like it was in the 90s or early noughties, before a generation of parents decided they will inflict their progeny on everyone else and not lift a finger to control them. In a London full of pubs that more closely resemble creches, this is bliss!
Staff Writer

Our local when we lived in Sydenham, probably the best pub in the area in terms of food and drink selection.

The garden is well worth a visit, it's their main selling point and they keep it very well maintained. It's incredibly popular as a result so I'd advise getting there early.

Food is pretty decent too, my girlfriend is vegetarian so it's sometimes difficult to find pubs with a good range of choice for her, but she was never unhappy at the Dolphin, plenty of veggie friendly options. Burgers and Sunday roasts are recommended too.

My only gripe is the location, as you can get the very occasional unsavoury wander through. If it was further up Sydenham Hill, it would be a great little spot.

AVOID AVOID AVOID this timewasting blight on Sydenham high street. Full of pretention, self-importance and gastropub nonsense but forgetting there is a CUSTOMER trying to get a meal here! Tried to get Sunday roast there today - place order at 4:10pm only to be told they stop roasts at 4pm, and resume at 5pm. It doesn't actually say this anywhere in the pub, but the server defensively pointed out this info is on the website. Well how does that help me at the point of order?!. And I'm giving one star as I tried to get lunch there in the week at a similar time in the week except then they don't serve till 6pm. Pretty poor show when all other locals, e.g. Dulwich Wodehouse, Paxton, and the Crystal Palace eateries don't have insane unadvertised breaks in service. Seriously, what gives with the attitude of "look at the website" before you visit? Such a lack of professionalism and customer service it's nuts. Unimpressive range of ciders as well, unless you think Rekorderlig and Bulmers are the height of sophistication. I shall be sticking to trusty Crystal Palace in future!

My disappointment comes from the food, a burger and chips for £9:50 plus £1 for cheese. Most pubs have a similar price, but this was a small burger and hardly any chips and such a small amount of cheese on the burger, it is unacceptable, paying £1 for such a small amount of cheese was like being robbed. The chips were very over cooked, very hard and greasy we complained but were only offer more chips but I did not want any more rock hard, greasy chips. The burger was ok, not worth £9, it was a £5 meal at best. When compared to GBK at the same price you can get a great burger and chips, from a local Indian restaurant a curry, rice and naan bread. I still don’t understand what I paid for, quantity I was still very hungry afterwards, quality….. well Mac Donald’s chips are much better and Burger Kings burgers are better. So food it overpriced Generally atmosphere of the pub is good; it’s very clean and comfortable, nice garden. The only pub in the area that is welcoming.

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