Catford Bridge Tavern SE6 – new in 2017

It’s pleasing to see the redeveloped CBT doing well again under new ownership, since re-opening Easter 2017 with a new roof terrace, refurbed dining room and a good range of drinks from craft beers to “gincident” gins

The former Catford Bridge Tavern run by Antic, closed back in November 2013 (Tesco bought the lease, then sold it to Solitaire after community campaigns to save the pub), it then caught fire and stood empty for about two years (see re-construction time-lapse). A disappointing saga.

With a happy ending?

Let’s take a look. Starting with skin-on chips that take some beating:

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Beer battered haddock + skin-on salted chips with tartar sauce

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Beer battered haddock: nice white ‘meaty’ fish

Food promos run on weekday evenings:

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Burger MondaysBurger + skin-on chips and a pint for £10.00 (the offer’s since changed to buy a burger, get a second for £1)

They’re good burgers. Every day of the week.

The menu changes fairly regularly, here’s a sample from April 2017:

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Sample menu 

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Sea bream @ £11.00

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Pano – cross-section restaurant and bar-side

Fancy a bar snack?

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Cumberland sausage rolls with mushroom ketchup – bar snack @ £4.00

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Craft beers

Saving the best ’til last, it’s got to be Sunday roasts:

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Sunday roast: pork belly + crackling @ £14.00

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Sunday roasts: pork belly with crackling (top @ £14) and topside of beef (bottom @ £14.75) with roast spuds and proper Yorkshire puddings

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Eton mess @ £4.00

Watch out for quirky events and themes, from music by a Granny DJ to “Gincidents” and dog shows.

Are you and your best friend ready for this Catford? #se6 #fortheloveofdogs #dogshow #pub #puppypower

A post shared by Catford Bridge Tavern (@catfordbridgetavern) on

The verdict: Catford has a great traditional-style pub again – good food, drinks, and service (bar and waiting staff are usually chatty and helpful) in a comfy, clean space that’s enjoyable to relax in.

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: Pub, British
– Address: Station Approach, Catford, London
– Postcode: SE6 4RE
– Nearest station: Catford Bridge, Catford
– Website + menus: Catford Bridge Tavern website
– Photos on flickr: images of Catford Bridge Tavern food
– Location: Catford Bridge Tavern map

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Just Eat delivers

Pide delivery through Just Eat

We’re back ordering take-aways through Just Eat after a few weeks trying out Deliveroo (unsuccessfully).

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Peynir Pide – Feta cheese, hellim cheese, mozzarella, cheddar, fresh mint & fresh tomatoes

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Three pidesSucuk (beef pepperoni, chicken sausages, mushrooms + fresh tomatoes), Acili Sebze (mushrooms, red onions, peppers + green chillies) + Kusbasi (roasted lamb, spicy minced lamb, green chillies, crushed red chillies, red onions + peppers) and feta salad

Last night we ordered a delivery from old favourite, Pide the grandfather of pizza, through Just Eat. Easy to order, the Turkish pizzas and salad arrived promptly within the hour. The order was correct; pizza was fresh and hot, salad chilled, and all very tasty.

Check out LardButty’s review of Pide

 

Just Eat Vs Deliveroo

Just Eat
– easy to use website
– many restaurants to choose from
– reasonably priced
– fairly reliable in that food usually arrives within the hour and is usually hot (any issues are generally taken care of in time for your meal)
– a takeaway aggregator that lists menus for its users, Just Eat passes orders onto the restaurants for them to deliver the food to customers (Just Eat gets commission)

Deliveroo
– website has limited functionality (eg. you can’t ‘favourite’ your preferred restaurants) but does have really appealing food photography
– limited number of restaurants to choose from
– over-priced in that Deliveroo charges restaurant prices for ‘restaurant food’ but without the restaurant experience
– a delivery service that doesn’t take responsibility when there’s an issue with an order – the customer is left trapped somewhere in between the restaurant and Deliveroo’s (lack of) customer service
– food usually delivered by bicycle courier meaning food can be scrambled and cold
– the artful food photography on their website does not reflect what the food looks like in real life
– unreliable in that they use a pool of rider-couriers and can not always guarantee couriers in your area

Damascus Chef pop-up at the Good Hope cafe – Hither Green SE13

Souq meze with a personal touch

The Damascus Chef (Abdullah Alawayed) and his partner host Syrian meze dinners at various locations in South London. Find out about their current pop-up events on the Eventbright website where you can reserve places. It’s currently £23.95 for adults or half-price for children and you pay locally, at the end of the meal.

We went to the ‘Souq meze’ pop-up at the Good Hope cafe, Hither Green (an award-winning community cafe run by the ForJimmy charity) on Friday night and joined the 6.30pm sitting (on Friday evenings there are 8.30pm sittings too).

Arriving early, the hostess welcomed us excitedly, and talked enthusiastically about the careful preparation that goes into making the dishes on this menu. Which rubs off on customers and makes for a good atmosphere in this small, cosy space, where candle-lit tables were decorated with pomegranate seeds at each place setting.

 

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Meze with fresh bread to share

Top l-r: Fool mudamas bi humous (fava beans crushed with chickpeas, chopped tomato, parsley, olive oil, lemon + cumin) and humous (crushed chickpeas blended with olive oil, tahini, cumin + garlic)
front l-r: Mutabbel (flame-grilled aubergine infused with yoghurt, tahini, garlic + cumin) and lebneh (thick, canvas-strung cows’ yoghurt)

 

We ordered a bottle of Rioja (@ about £16.00 – very reasonably priced and very nice too) and were blown away by the fresh tastiness of the meze starters. The food is familiar as middle-eastern but with a specific Syrian style – for example, humous is made with a ratio of more chickpeas to tahini, and is thicker and creamier for it. The mutabbel (aubergine dip) was absolutely gorgeous and the lebneh (really thick, creamy yoghurt) was a winner too. Shared starters are served with a variety of fresh breads and are limitless (if you dare).

Next came this shurbat adas, a traditional Syrian lentil soup with coriander seeds and cumin:

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Lentil soup

 

For main course, there was a selection of three dishes (we’d had to choose our main course in advance, when reserving):

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Kawaj – Levantine courgette, aubergine and green pepper casseroled in tomato sauce, sauteed onion, garlic and fresh coriander; topped with fresh chives and served with yoghurt and cucumber, pomegranates, walnuts, pine-nuts + fresh tabouleh

 

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Syrian lamb stew – Diced organic leg of lamb stewed with freekeh (smoked green wheat) infused with pine kernels, cashews, pistachios, almonds, green peas + raisins, served with optional yoghurt + cucumber (not pictured) + fresh tabouleh

I had this lamb stew. It tasted as though it had been slow-cooked and was steeped in many flavours. Really good.

 

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Jaj bil muhammara – Chicken thigh braised with lemon, coriander + pomegranate syrup, on a bed of crushed mild chilli muhammara, served with walnuts, yoghurt + cucumber, and tabouleh salad

 

For dessert, the choice was baklawa with ice-cream, or ice-cream with watermelon. I had baklawa:

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Jiljil wa hab ruman – Traditional filo pastry baklawa made with flour, syrup, honey, butter, egg white + pistachio, served with ice cream. Laden with fresh mint, pomegranates + pistachios.

 

For the fifth and final chai course, we had a choice of fresh mint, cardamom or cinnamon + walnut.

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Chai – cinnamon + walnut tea

 

The verdict: Good value for such a freshly prepared, unique and tasty banquet. The hosting couple put their heart and soul into making this dining experience enjoyable and relaxing for customers – the kind of personal touch that you don’t easily find in high-street restaurants. And the choice of venue for this pop-up makes it even more worthwhile. Eat, drink and be very merry – your money goes to good places.

 

Pop-up info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: Syrian, middle-eastern
– Location: venues vary – this was at the Good Hope cafe, 216 Hither Green Lane, London, SE13 6RT
– Contact: chef@damascuschef.com
– Website + menus: Damascus Chef website
– Damascus Chef events (reserve places): Eventbright website
– Photos of Damascus Chef: Damascus Chef on flickr

Rox Burger – Lewisham SE13

Really good restaurants might be in short supply in Lewisham – Rox Burger is among the few leading the way.

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Rox Burger  – step inside off the Lee High Road

 

Winner of New Openings’ “London’s best burger” competition in March 2016, Rox Burger was awarded “best rated burger in the UK” in 2015 by TripAdvisor (and currently ranks #32 of 17,000+ restaurants in London as of June 2016). No mean feat. It was time to check it out for ourselves.

With a small entrance on the indistinct Lee High Road, you could easily pass by and miss it, as I did.

 

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Up the spiral staircase – special mezzanine area for the six of us

 

On arrival, our table for six is ready – it’s on the mezzanine, accessible by a spiral stairway. A great use of limited space, we welcome the privacy of having our own little dining room and – as there are two kids in our party – the freedom to move about in the space.

 

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Ground floor restaurant – viewed from mezzanine

 

We order drinks including some Kernel pale ales @ £4.90 a bottle and a small margarita @ £6.50, and a variety of burgers including the Rox Bacon – handmade burger with cheese, bacon, egg, jalapeno pepper, mayo in a brioche bun @ £8.95, and a veggie portobello mushroom – with cheese, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, mayo in a brioche bun @ £6.00, along with two types of chips: sweet potato fries @ £3.20 and Rox fries with cheese and oregano @ £3.20.

 

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Burger menu  – click on image to enlarge

 

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Drinks menu – wines, craft beers, cocktails and more

 

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Rox bacon burger –  with cheese, bacon, fried egg + jalapeno pepper

 

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Portobello mushroom – with cheese, lettuce, tomato + grilled onions

 

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Another Rox bacon – in a brioche bun

 

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L: sweet potato fries @ £3.20, R: Rox fries with cheese + oregano @ £3.20

 

Rox Burger pride themselves on only using fresh ingredients, locally sourced – nothing’s frozen. The burger patty was really juicy and the bacon and egg were crispy. It’s a really good burger with interestingly seasoned chips too (oregano and finely grated cheese) – good for a change.

 

The verdict: Good service, pleasing use of space with quirky ‘home made’ furnishings (like the cushioned-pallet benches we sat on, on the mezzanine) and fine quality burgers. Probably all the more impressive for being in this part of Lewisham, where good eating establishments are a novelty.

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: Burgers
– Address: 82 Lee High Rd, London
– Postcode: SE13 5PT
– Nearest station: Lewisham
– Website + menus: Rox Burger website
– Photos on flickr: Rox Burger images
– Location: Rox Burger map

 

Rox Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Saigon Cafe – Catford, SE6

Vietnamese cafe with bring your own booze in upcoming Catford, South East London

While Saigon Foods cafe has a ‘bring your own booze’ policy (as they’re not licensed to serve alcohol) that keeps costs down, we chose to ‘take-away’ the other evening after work, and relax at home.

 

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Summer rolls – rice paper wraps two rolls @ £4.00

 

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Bo la lot – grilled beef in leaves with rice noodles and salad @ £7.85
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Bo la lot – minced beef filling

 

We ordered summer rolls – rice paper wraps with rice vermicelli, lettuce and herbs with a peanut sauce, Vietnamese spring rolls (pork and prawn rolls which were unfortunately omitted), bo la lot minced beef in betel leaves (vine leaves) with rice vermicelli, mixed salad, Vietnamese dressing with chillis and peanuts (the beef leaves and sauce were very tasty), and a chicken pho – flat rice noodles in broth served with fresh vegetables, herbs and seasoning sauces (very healthy although – aside from the aromatic basil leaves – slightly lacking in flavour).
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Chicken pho – rice noodles in Vietnamese broth @ £7.85
This was a healthy meal made from fresh ingredients – plenty enough for two – and really good value given I had change out of £20.00! I can imagine that this food would taste even better served fresh in the restaurant and intend to visit again soon.

 

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Inside Saigon Foods cafe

 

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Menu at Saigon Foods cafe, Catford

 

The verdict: Cheap, cheerful and healthy. And something a bit different for Catford.

 

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3 / 5
~ Type: Vietnamese, BYOB
~ Address: 24 Catford Broadway, London
~ Postcode: SE6 4SN
~ Nearest stations: Catford Bridge, Catford
~ Website + menus: Saigon Cafe website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Saigon Cafe
~ Location: Saigon Cafe map

 

Saigon Foods Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Station Hotel – Gastro pub in SE London, SE13

Gastro pub and hotel in Lewisham Borough

Within spitting distance of Hither Green rail station in the Lewisham Borough, The Station Hotel is a Redcomb pub – a small group of traditional British ‘country pub’ style pubs – founded in 2009, with the aim of serving “simple, honest, fresh food, well kept ales with friendly and engaging service, set in a stylish environment”.

Our visit last night (a Friday evening) was an early birthday celebration for T. We’ve drunk in the bar at this pub a few times but it was my first time eating here – the food was great and reasonably priced for good quality, carefully sourced ingredients.

For starters, we shared a mixed mezze board of houmus, marinated tomatoes, feta and olives, cream cheese stuffed peppers, tzatziki falafel, and flatbread.

 

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Mezze board – shared starter @ £11.95

 

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Box baked camembert – infused with rosemary, thyme and garlic with red onion marmalade and crusty bread @ £9.95

 

For main course, K had a Station burger; T had roasted sea trout and I had beer battered fish and chips (all very good).

 

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Station burger – short rib from English herds, brioche bun with mayo, lettuce, tomato, red onion, relish, cheddar, onion rings and skinny fries @ £12.95

 

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Beer battered sustainable North Sea fish, chunky chips, crushed minted peas and homemade tartar sauce @ £12.95

 

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Roasted Sea trout – lemon + thyme mash, creamed leeks + chives, caper, chive + tomato vinaigrette @ £14.25

 

The verdict:Good honest food, along with reasonably priced drinks (a bottle of Chenin Viognier dry white wine was £20) our total bill for four came to £175.75 excluding service. One of the better pubs in Lewisham. I’ll be back.

 

Pub dining info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: pub
~ Address: 14 Staplehurst Road, Hither Green, London
~ Postcode: SE13 5NB
~ Nearest station: Hither Green
~ Website + menus: The Station Hotel website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Station Hotel food
~ Location: Station Hotel map

 

The Station Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

AyaSofya Turkish Restaurant – Catford

Catford’s newest Turkish restaurant is up against some tough – and established – competition (with the likes of Turkish Kitchen, Mekan and Turquaz).

How would AyaSofya compare? K and I visited spontaneously last night, to find out.

 

Inside AyaSofya restaurant Catford
Inside AyaSofya

 

At 6pm the restaurant was empty. We were greeted promptly and quickly shown to a table. While the white wines didn’t appeal (limited choice including some Turkish wines that we weren’t familiar with and chose not to be adventurous) we ordered a bottle of Rioja, Spanish red @ £16.95. It wasn’t in stock so we settled for a Merlot wine from the Bordeaux region instead.

 

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Hellim and sucuk starter

 

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Calamari starter

 

For starters we shared sucuk (spicy Turkish sausage – gorgeous) @ £3.50, deep fried calamari @ £3.95 (light and tender, served piping hot) and grilled hellim cheese @ £3.95.

 

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Karisik kebab

 

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AyaSofya special

 

Our server was attentive and helpful, and made recommendations about the dishes when asked. For mains, K ordered a karisik kebab – chicken and lamb on the bone with side salad and rice @ £12.95 (excellent) and I ordered the AyaSofya special – chicken and lamb cubes in tomato with yoghurt, served with a side salad and rice, and chilli sauce @ £12.95 (this was great – the meat was lovely and tender, and really filling too).

 

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Baklawa and milk pudding with cinnamon (Muhallebi?) – complimentary

 

A group of ladies came into the restaurant to prepare it for a 60th birthday party, hanging lots of personal photos and ’60th’ decorations, obviously enjoying themselves and adding to a chirpy atmosphere.

 

The verdict: Nice, comfortable space where it’s easy to relax and enjoy the friendly service and great food. I’ll save room to order a dessert next time, as the Turkish milk pudding is divine. Great value too – our total bill for two including service came to £60.00).

 

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: Turkish
~ Address: 195 Rushey Green, Catford, London
~ Postcode: SE6 4BD
~ Nearest station: Catford Bridge, Catford
~ Photos on flickr: images of AyaSofya food
~ Location: AyaSofya map
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