- Food & Drink
For my last meal in London, I went to Camberwell. It has its own destination dining restaurant now – Angels & Gypsies – which is where I’d planned to go for dinner with Sister Number 1 and Ma and Pa Gin and Crumpets. So had the rest of South London and dammit, they’d booked. But if London has taught me anything, it’s to always have a Plan B, so I reserved a table at The Tiger, Camberwell’s latest posh pub.
Due to entirely foreseen circumstances (I hadn’t finished packing), Sister Number 1 was left holding the fort/table for 20 minutes. Luckily the staff at The Tiger operate on the edge of terror, so when we finally turned up, they didn’t berate us. Instead, they timorously asked if we’d like to order drinks. We did.
The menu is short and I quickly settled on burger and chips, the food blogger’s reverse snobbery test of excellence. Around 20–25 minutes after we placed our order (noted with approval by Ma G&C, on the grounds that it must mean they were actually cooking, not reheating), our meals arrived.
My burger was a tower of bun, beef and frilly salad. The bun was very nice – a white bun with a tiny hint of sweetness, but the burger was very British. A squashed ball of herby beef that had been grilled to BBQ consistency – a little charred and well done. It was also extremely lean, which meant it was very dry. There was a hint of health about this burger. No dripping juices or squishy mouthfeel, just unrelenting lean beef.
The chips also had a whisper of the Gillian McKeiths about them. Skin-on, they were dark brown, as if they’d been fried in burnt fat or, and what I suspect is the case, oven baked. They had the papery skin and soft, floppy texture that I achieve with an oil sprayer, a potato and a hot oven at home.
Sister Number 1 ordered the chicken and mushroom pot pie, who’s thyme-spiked filling she liked a lot. The pale, insipid marge-flavoured pastry, on the other hand, was abandoned to the delighted hands of my dad, who said it was just like the pastry they used to have for jam tarts when he was young (when there was rationing).
Ma ordered the ricotta and vegetable tart, Pa ordered the fish and chips and both of them ate them so quickly that I couldn’t pinch a nibble to report back on.
Pa, SN1 and I opted for the treacle tart for pudding and once again the health nazis have been busy in the kitchen. It tasted like a flapjack in a pastry case, which isn’t all that healthy but it’s a mite bit more healthy that actual treacle tart. You could taste the golden syrup and it was generously sized with a spoonful of real cream, but it wasn’t treacle tart. It was treacle tart’s bookish, more sensible sister in a below-the-knee-skirt and a disapproving frame of mind.
I was disappointed by The Tiger. I had high hopes for it and the staff, even if they do seem to be terrified of me every time I go in there, do their best to be make sure you have a good time.
But a pub should be selling gutsy, what-the-hell-let’s-have-another-round food. Somewhere, The Tiger has got itself confused with a vegan cafe and sucked a little joy out of the experience along with most of the fat.