The Rosendale, West Dulwich
A vastly popular new gastropub in south London gains the Itchy seal of approval.
The pub is vast, with a large area devoted to diners. Design-wise it's beautiful - very country pub done-good. We especially liked the display of butterflies above the fireplace. The bar menu was enough to encourage even the most devout teetotaler to snuggle down with a pint and a plate of something: vegetarian mezze platter is £7.50 and the massive, vastly tempting Welsh rarebit £3.50. Had Itchy not been visiting for dinner, we'd have settled down in the bar for some cheesy treats and a flaggon of ale, no problem.
As it was, we were expected in the dining room, so to the dining room we went. Our goat's cheese pannacota was light, creamy, and accompanied by an excellent caponata. Beetroot crisps were more chewy than crispy but their unbridled prettiness made up for the textural let-down. Chicken liver parfait was satisfyingly silky, and came with an excellent onion marmalade.
Beer-battered fish and chips was suitably sizable; the batter was light and gloriously, darkly golden. Our mushy peas were gently minted and our chips were hand-cut, taking this plate into firmly grown-up territory.
The Orkney sirloin steak wasn't precisely as rare as our blood-thirsty dining companion might have preferred, but there was nothing else for the poor carnivore to complain about. The chips were great, and the salad was tasty but surplus to requirements.
Puddings are astonishingly cheap at £4.50 each: chocolate mousse with amaretti did a great impression of a half-pint of Guinness, complete with a thick double cream 'head'. It was delicious but overwhelmingly large, and we are not easily overwhelmed. The Eton mess looked beautiful and tasted better - it was similarly vast but lightened by the zing of some paritcularly fresh fruit, so we managed to eat the whole thing.
The Rosendale may be new, but it's far from naive. It's a knowing young thing with determination and pluck, and we expect to see it go far.