- Food & Drink
London basked in a heatwave for two days. But on the third day, the weather gave in. Blue skies were swamped with sweaty grey clouds and the air was thick with the promise of rain.
Obviously I had a table in The Rosendale’s pub garden booked for the third day. A PR had invited me for dinner, ostensibly to enjoy the newly refurbed gardens, but there was a table reserved indoors – just in case. Personally, I’m fond of rain. And the garden table had a large umbrella, so I sat outside with my sister and we defied the weather.
The gardens have been smartly turned out. They sweep round the handsome Victorian building in an arc of blonde wood and jolly chairs. There are sharing tables and benches at the front, smaller tables mixed with ping pong and table tennis leading to a children’s play area at the back.
Two of the highlights of our dinner came right at the start: a bowl of sweet and grassy green olives and a chorizo scotch egg with the obligatory soft yolk and a slick of saffron scented mayo.
My starter of heritage tomatoes came with a lawn of mustard cress sprinkled over the top: the salad equivalent of superfluous mint on a dessert. Better were the little scoops of goat’s cheese mousse, although the pistachio crisps were a layer of extraness the salad could have done without.
My sister’s jerk mackerel starter combined a couple of mackerel fillets with a slightly too sweet jerk sauce, soft roast fingers of sweet potatoes, and baby sweetcorn. Like the tomato salad, the mix of textures was confused rather than complimentary, and the jerk needed more spice.
I had a daily special of rump steak with potato salad and green salad, exactly the kind of food that pub gardens and warm nights are made for. My sister’s chicken breast came with a doughy leek fritter and a puddle of mushroom sauce.
A bigger hit (possibly because of our sweet toothed nature) was the vanilla panna cotta. Smooth textured and with a little hint of a wobble, the final spoonful was scooped up with a touch of regret that we’d only ordered one to share.
We drank a bottle of the house white, Faun Bianco 2014. A peachy sauvignon blanc, it took the edge off the close night air, while our brilliant waitress looked after us perfectly.
Another heatwave is rolling across London. South East Londoners looking for a pub where they can embrace the sunshine along with a pint will find The Rosendale’s gardens will do nicely.
I ate at The Rosendale as a guest of the pub and our meal and drinks were complimentary. To book a table or find out more about The Rosendale, go here. Photographs of the pub supplied by The Rosendale, photographer: Daniel Bristow.