21 September 2020

Mid-Week Supper at The Dairy's New Bermondsey Home, Bermondsey Larder

Update (4 Nov 2020): When I visited this restaurant during its soft launch, it retained its original name, The Dairy, but it has since been renamed Bermondsey Larder. I've updated this post accordingly, but some of it photos reflect its original name.

Like many people, I was a fan of Robin and Sarah Gill's The Dairy in Clapham, but I didn't make it over there often enough, which filled me with huge regret when it closed permanently this summer. But to my pleasure, it has now reopened in a new location in Bermondsey. I'd actually been running past its new home, inside the attractive new Bermonds Locke aparthotel on Tower Bridge Road, while it was being created and jumped at the chance to take advantage of its soft launch.

If you're entering Bermonds Locke from Tower Bridge Road, you'll need to cross through the Shaman coffee shop (which also now operates on the ground floor of Treves & Hyde) and lobby seating area, to get to Bermondsey Larder, which is located at the back. It's a bright, airy space, and beautifully decorated, from the light colours of the d├ęcor to the verdant bar. As a lone diner, I took a seat at a large, communal table — a tall cactus providing physical distancing facilities — that faced the kitchen, with its duochrome hues. There are smaller tables for pairs, larger tables, and some more flexible communal seating options, including at the bar.

As part of the soft launch, I was offered a welcome drink, which was the Somerset Spritz, featuring homemade ginger wine and cider, a refreshing start to the meal. The other cocktails on the list sounded interesting too, with classics also available. 

At Bermondsey Larderhttps://www.instagram.com/bermondseylarder/, the aim to bring a coastline or farm-side dining experience to central London is reflected in the menu, which contains diverse dishes, divided roughly into smaller plates and larger plates. Of course, if you're dining with others, you'll want to order a range of dishes and share them, but as it was just me, I stuck to a more traditional three-course meal. Although I wanted to save room for pudding, I couldn't not order the sourdough bread with whipped herb noisette. It was technically 'to share' but it was so good, I ended up eating most of it.

Several of the smaller plates — including the tarragon-battered hake — sounded great, but as I was going for a fishy main course, I went for the tartare of farmer Tom's Welsh black rump, with wasabi, daikon and shiso to start. The Welsh beef paired wonderfully with the Japanese accompaniments — not the only dish that combines British and Asian flavours.

For my main, I ordered the Julie Girl monkfish with pine nut sauce, fennel kimchi and sea vegetables. I almost didn't order a side, what with all the bread, but I'm glad I did. The fish was very well cooked, but not the largest of portions, and the roasted pink fir potatoes and 'sexy fat' more than hit the spot. They reminded me of the potatoes I mistook for sausages at Brat, and were just as good.

As for pudding, I couldn't resist the intriguing chocolate salted caramel 'but not as you know it'. It turned out to be a large choux bun, oozing with smooth salted caramel that was tempered by the crunchy cocoa nibs. If this is on the menu when you visit, you will definitely want to save room for it! An apple and lemon petit four made for an excellent post-meal palate cleanser.

Soft launches, of course, give time for staff to be trained up and prepare for the full launch, but everything was already running smoothly on my visit. All of the staff were enthusiastic and welcoming, and it was a very enjoyable meal. Now that I know Bermondsey Larder is just down the road, I can't wait to go back.

Bermondsey Larder. Bermonds Locke, 153–157 Tower Bridge Road, London, SE1 3LW (Tube: London Bridge or Bermondsey). Website. Twitter. Instagram.

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