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Loyal Tavern (CLOSED)

Restaurants, British Bermondsey
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

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A gourmet pub-restaurant in Bermondsey.

It’s all industrial chic in Loyal Tavern: metal furnishings, rustic floors and regal-looking wooden chairs. The aesthetics give it a gourmet pub vibe, while the big steel cage behind the bar would look at home in any BrewDog joint. And the food? Most of it was excellent.

Four shards of chicken skin crackling came as a snack. They were crisp – emitting a nice crack when snapped – and greasy. A good greasy, where you’re left sucking your fingertips for every last trace of fat.

The best main was the buttermilk-poached cod. Artfully cooked, the fish was soft and came apart nicely: it was as flaky as my least reliable friend. The milk added a light sweetness to the fish, which was lounging in a chilli-flecked white-bean stew. The broth was ace, too. Seasoned with ’nduja, it was fragrant, gently spiced and fulfilling.

Also fantastic: sliced rump of lamb, which was tender, juicy and pink in the middle. It came lying on top of a smooth and buttery mound of celeriac purée, lifted further by chopped fresh chilli and olives. All of it was drizzled with a glistening, rich sauce, punctuated with lamb’s tingly best mate, mint.

From the puds, the banana bread impressed. It came as a slice, smothered in a mascarpone topping and sprinkled with toasted buckwheat and pistachios. The combo worked well: it was creamy and sweet, with the seeds adding crunch and a wholesome savouriness.

But there was a niggle. While the beef-dripping chips were hand-cut and glorious, we got a meagre six for £4.50. Sure, they were thick, but that’s still 75p a pop. On the plus side, service is very friendly and efficient. Loyal Tavern may feel like a gastropub, but it isn’t pretentious or annoyingly fancy, it’s simply pumping out some seriously great grub.

By: Ella Braidwood



Address: 171-173 Bermondsey Street
Transport: Tube: Borough
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £100.
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