Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Draft House Tower Bridge, Bermondsey

While I’m on a porky theme, pull up a pew and let me tell you about the pork belly at the new Draft House on Tower Bridge Road.

The existing Draft House pubs (on Battersea Bridge Road and Northcote Road) are famed - around South London at least - for a housing a great selection of beers from ‘round here and yonder.

Owner, Charlie McVeigh (co-owner of Le Café Anglais), explained that each Draft House pub has a different range, so there are beers at the Tower Bridge outlet which you won’t track down at the others (or possibly anywhere else for that matter without a serious sniffer dog). There are 25 draft beers available at this branch – I believe there are 20 beers on bright, shiny, silver taps and dozens by the bottle. The word on the street is that the Draft House Tower Bridge will be the first pub in the UK to serve “Stiegl Paraclesus Zwickl” for instance – I don’t know what it is either, but you get the idea: this is a place to go for rarities and will delight serious beer enthusiasts. But it also seems there has been a deliberate upping of the ante on the nosh you might expect to receive at Tower Bridge.

Our party was there for a blogger event during the soft opening period last week. After kicking things off with a giant sized bottle of Italian Amacord Gradisca, the oddity of the Kermit green seating arrangements almost started to make sense. The décor is something along the lines of retro diner cross old school public house - with a beautiful dark wooden bar.

We were treated to a selection of canapés, which were mostly very good. Of particular note, was some moreish smoked ham hock on toast, a pre-mixed steak tartare thingamie, and a gorgeously velvety chicken and duck liver pate. Other bits, like a prawn and sesame toast and a smoked salmon and crème fraiche number, didn’t leave the same lasting impression, although all were perfectly fighting fit for pairing up with some top notch beers. Snacks, pots and toasts at the Draft House generally range from £4.75 - £5.75 per serving. 

With these, we guzzled the fruity Estrella Inedit by Ferran Adria, which was a little odd (of course it was) – as its flashy website explains, it is flavoured with coriander, orange peel and liquorice - but enjoyable nonetheless.

But most remarkable was a main course comprising some gorgeously tender Lincolnshire pork belly. Crisp crackling gave way to hunks of satisfyingly juicy, gloriously piggy meat. Alongside sat a hearty dollop of black pudding hash and apple sauce (£12.75). This was a pure, unadulterated joy to eat.  This was matched for us with my favourite beer of the evening, a Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary beer – for me a good balance of easy drinking but quite potent (weighing in at 9.2%) and a bit malty.

Before dessert, cheese. A great oozing brie captured my heart, followed closely by a Stichelton and a cheddar – all served with oatcakes and chutney. (The artisan cheese platter is normally £7.75 although presumably for a smaller one than we shared between our large party). These were paired with a completely full on Double Bastard ale which will blow your socks off (it’s a 10% alcohol heavyweight) – and perhaps requires a bigger cheddar to match it.

I thoroughly enjoyed my wobbly vanilla panna cotta with berries (which unfortunately doesn’t appear on the current online menu). It matched well with a cherry beer to finish off the evening.

I have already recommended the Draft House to my local friends as one to look out for, not only for some serious beer spotting but also for some solid pub fare. I do the same for you.

The Draft House, 206-208 Tower Bridge Road, Tower Bridge, London SE1 2UP

Greedy Diva was a freeloading guest of the Draft House Tower Bridge, attending with other bloggers.

The Draft House Pub on Urbanspoon


  1. There aren't enough places with a wide range of delicious beers in London!

    The panna cotta matched with cherry beer sounds divine!


  2. This sounds really nice! this area is in need of some decent pubs anyway, will definitely give this one a try.

  3. Food for Think - Yes, and even better to have some decent food to go with them.

    Ute - I hope you enjoy!

  4. Love that they've got Sierra Nevada!

  5. An American in London - great beer!

  6. Thanks guys, was a fun night indeed...


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