Tulse Hill Hotel
Time Out says
A gastropub with rooms serving food that surpasses the usual culinary expectations of posh pub dining
At the start of 2014, the postcode for Tulse Hill – SE24 – achieved the ignoble distinction of being the most burgled in London. This came as a shock to residents, as the area is considered ‘on the up’. Some analysts argued that that might be precisely the problem: new wealth, and the gentrification that comes with it, can attract the light-fingered.
If you wanted a poster child for the gentrification of Tulse Hill, this new restaurant and boutique hotel (9 plushed-up rooms upstairs) would be it. Ostensibly the restaurant is just another ‘dining room at the back of a pub’, leading straight on from the main bar and sharing its buzz and handsome yet laidback decor (heritage paints, bare tables, oversized chandeliers). But eating and drinking here is a fair whack above the usual gastropub.
The menu is Brit-meets-the-Med (in particular, southern Spain and north Africa), with the small plates the most interesting: one stand-out was a crisp-edged piece of mutton over a light, creamy houmous and excellent own-made dukka (mixing toasted cumin, coriander and sesame seeds with crushed toasted hazelnuts). Also good was a three-ways ‘cauliflower cheese’ – cheesy croquetas, charred slices, creamy, delicate sauce – even if the sweet-smoky chipotle jam was overkill. And deliciously salty halloumi paired well with whole roast okra and curry leaves.
Desserts were equally memorable: our warm honey cake, with crushed pistachios, a smear of lavender cream and milk ice cream, was a delight. In between, main courses, such as the ‘sirloin, chop, marrow, bones and oxtail pie’ are built for two-to-three, or there are more standard, ‘safe’ options, such as lamb chop and mint sauce or pork chop and quince. We chose instead the nicely charred roast quail with a rich mayo laced with n’duja, the soft, spicy Calabrian sausage which is extremely fashionable at the moment.
The service is warm yet polished, while the wine list starts under £20 a bottle and goes even lower for wines ‘on tap’ by the glass or 500ml carafe. Like the rest of the offer here, it’s something of a steal. Whoops, sorry Tulse Hill!