There have been plenty of stories over the last year of new bars and restaurants opening just in time to have to shut again for lockdown. It’s a lot rarer to hear of a place that has timed its (re)opening to perfection. But such seems to be the case with Sydenham/Catford’s Perry Hill pub. The Perry Hill has been shut for two years, much to the dismay of locals and south Londoners in general. It’s just opened again and guess what? It has one hell of a beer garden.
Beers gardens are the oases in the capital’s hospitality desert, shimmering, mirage-like, in the distance. We’ve waited many thirsty months for them to appear on the horizon. The Perry Hill’s is a stunner: divided into a terrace, a deck and a covered back garden with a total capacity of more than 250, making it one of the largest beer gardens in south-east London. You can book the covered tables, but all the others are kept for walk-ins, which is extremely generously spirited of The Perry Hill.
In the current climate, it feels a bit like gilding the lily to list the pub’s other attractions, but we’re going to anyway. The Perry Hill is a handsome 1920s/’30s boozer: well proportioned and full of cool original details like wood panelling. Its refurb features some tasteful decor updates plus a tasty new menu from Jamie Younger (owner of Peckham’s fêted Begging Bowl) and head chef Eric Grapt (The Wolseley). It’s full of heavy, un-summery-sounding Brit classics like beef brisket, shredded pig’s shoulder and smoked celeriac steak, all coming from the onsite smokehouse. But since summer in the UK now consists of chilly drizzle with two weeks of insane 40C hotness, it sounds pretty appropriate and totally delicious. They’re promising a stonking Sunday roast too.
Local artist Lionel Stanhope has been drafted in to do a mural in the garden – south Londoners will recognise his work as those big area nameplates on and under railway bridges. So something to look at, nice stuff to eat, a huge garden to drink your beer in. That’ll do nicely for now.
The Perry Hill Pub, 78-80 Perry Hill, SE6 4EY. www.perryhillpub.co.uk. Bookings taken now.