An Honourable Sunday Lunch | The Honor Oak, 1 Saint German’s Road, London SE23 1RH
The late May bank holiday should have been an exciting and happy long weekend. It was Saff’s birthday with loads of celebratory meals booked and of course three days off from the day job. But this was all tragically stopped due to the sudden death of our beloved family cat. Friday’s drinks up The Shard and a cheeky burger and wet fries at The Diner were cancelled as were the bookings for brunch at Duck & Waffle and afternoon tea at The Dean Street Townhouse the next day, we just couldn’t face it.
Sunday eventually arrived and what better way to attempt to attempt to lift our spirits than the ultimate comfort food – a traditional roast diner with all the trimmings. We’d heard some good things about The Honor Oak, a colleague of mine had been badgering me to go for months.
The Honor Oak is a British gastro pub located in the thriving Forest Hill area of south London, for once there is plenty of parking nearby, a real rarity almost anywhere in London nowadays. You can even park directly outside the pub, in the bus lane, at the weekends. Not that many of the customers drive there, this is a real community pub that just so happens to serve a decent menu. In fact it’s busiest times are during lunch and early evening – which goes to show how popular the food is, especially with young families.
The pub was refurbished and renovated last August (2014) and it’s brighter, more spacious, thoughtfully decorated (earthy green and brown tones) and they have even totally reworked their outside spaces. Out front there is a fab little sun-trap of a courtyard, whilst at the back is a child-friendly (no smoking) beer garden. Also they have an exclusive whisky room and event space. They have even managed to find room for a wide selection of British beers plus over 300 different wines. I tried a pint of their exclusively brewed Honor Oak pale ale.
As stated earlier, we were here to try their roast dinner. There’s the option of two courses for £18.95 or three for £22.95. Saff skipped the starter but I couldn’t resist the Ham Hock Terrine. A generous portion of course smokey ham mixed with finely chopped onion for a little crunch and sweetness, served with watercress, toasted ‘country’ bread (texture was a little like French toast) and piccalilli. The menu didn’t state if the piccalilli was homemade – I’ve got a feeling it came straight out of a shop bought jar – but I could be wrong.
Saff had the Roast Black Angus Beef. Again the portion size was huge, almost daunting! Unfortunately the meat wasn’t cooked as rare as we usually enjoy and was a little tough in places, but the pub knows its audience better than us and maybe rare beef isn’t popular. The quality of the beef was obviously great and it packed a real meaty punch.
I ordered the Roast leg of Salt Marsh Lamb. The meat was beautifully tender and not over fatty – it was a good job that I skipped breakfast, the plate was piled high! Both dishes were served with crisp braised baby carrots, parsnips (a little undercooked) buttered kale, duck fat roasted potatoes (maybe could have been a little fluffier) a delicious giant Yorkshire pudding, I was thinking of sneaking up to grab another from the huge pile stacked up on the pass.
A couple of suggestions that could improve the roasts a little. The real ale gravy was really good, there simply wasn’t enough of it – serving up extra in a little jug is always a good move. Also when asked if we required horseradish/mint sauce the waiter returned with two large bowls and loitered as we spooned them on to our roasts, quickly stating that he had to take them back! Surely individual pots of these sauces is more convenient for the diners – nobody likes to be put under condiment pressure!
Desserts were very safe yet delicious. My Summer Berry Eton Mess was exactly the correct dish to order after such a huge starter and main. It was sweet with plenty of fruit and chunks of crisp meringue, I loved the swirls of strawberry sauce that weaved throughout the dessert. Saff usually avoids ‘boring’ desserts, but as she doesn’t eat cream or cheese(cake) the only other option was a Chocolate brownie, vanilla ice-cream and toffee sauce. This brownie was far from boring – it was warm, moist and rich. I really wished I’d ordered one!
As mentioned earlier there are a couple of minor things that we would change to improve the meal but the service was impeccable, professional and very friendly. The pub itself has a fab feel and shouldn’t really be monopolised by the locals. The Sunday lunch menu rotates weekly (a different vegetation option, seasonal meats etc) and the full menu looks quite impressive too – click here for a sample.
The Honor Oak is in a fantastic location and will only improve, the recently gentrified Peckham Rye is only 10 minutes drive away as is the beautiful Dulwich Village. We walked off our lunch with a stroll through the gorgeous Peckham Rye Park, I’m constantly surprised by how this little section of South East London has changed, if only this regeneration would spread out to where we live in Kent…
1 Saint German’s Road,
London SE23 1RH
Telephone: 0208 690 9222
Opening hours: Sunday – Thursday 10 am – 12.30 am
Friday and Saturday 10- am – 1.30am
Nearest station: Honor Oak Park (13 mins walk) Catford (17 mins walk)
On-street parking available nearby
We ate as guests of the Honor Oak, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.