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11 March 2015

review | the railway telegraph, forest hill

over the last few weeks i have taken to exploring my 'new area' on my days off. partly because there's never any public transport on a sunday, and partly because i've been saving money for the last couple of months, but either way, i've been getting out and about a lot more. because of all my local exploring and subsequent local blogging, last week i was super lucky to receive an invite to a local pub's new menu launch, alongside a host of local foodie bloggers.

having lived in the area for about nine months, i didn't even know that the railway telegraph existed until i was invited along, so cue my surprise when i discovered the pub was literally about five minutes walk from my house... score! i headed along on tuesday after work, to help taste test and launch head chef richard morgan's new menu.

fellow blogger and event planner beth of dotty dishes was on hand to welcome us to the pub, and get us sorted with some fancy drinks. the bar staff were so well stocked and trained, they rather than pick from the extensive cocktail menu, we were advised by owner dufran sofranac to just "tell them what you like," and let them do the rest...

fortunately, i was really taken by the "english rose" cocktail, so opted to start with that anyways. the menu read, "an english rose is a young, typically english girl. usually she will have brown hair, pale skin, green eyes and rosy cheeks. she is very beautiful and very rare." and then there was a bit about absynthe that i forgot to read, because i was so taken by the first bit that just screeeamed my name.

so yeah, absynthe cocktails on a tuesday night... ohhh yeah. there were also some incredible pea and mash fritters which... rocked my starved, absynthe-fuelled world. there wasn't enough for two for everyone. i had two, because that's how i roll.

after a quick tour of the incredibly large (seriously, there's a roof-top event space, giant external balcony, enormous car-park that's to be turned into a summertime tiki-bar and a *secret* basement bar that's going to be turned into a speakeasy!) and perfectly victorian-themed pub, we sat down in the observatory for the menu tasting.

we started with angels on horseback - oysters wrapped in bacon and served on toasted croutons, and duck livers in whisky cream to share. this was followed up with a meat and cheese platter that included a british chedder, delicious blue, and a creamy goats cheese, plus some... shaved meats. shaved meats that included ox tongue. i event tried the ox tongue. i did not like the ox tongue. there was also a little somethin' somethin' that was mostly made up of gelatine and the back of a cow's neck. it was... not for me, but with all of the meats locally sourced, even this course was so typically british it tied in perfectly with the overarching victorian theme of the pub.

and thankfully i had a delicious knickerbocker glory to wash that course down with...

when the main courses were served, i was in absolute heaven. not only was there a delicious pork belly dish served with shallots and carrot mash and a sweet balsamic sauce, but there was also an incredibly flavoured roast chicken dish. served with juniper gravy and roasted veggies, the chicken was cooked so that it was still moist and tender, but the skin had been seasoned to the point that it crisped and hardened, and cracked under the pressure of the knife while the juices poured out from within. i mean... writing that made me salivate. it was diviiiiiine. and i will be going back for that.

last up was a duo of desserts. a turkish delight and mulberry cheesecake and chocolate orange tart, plus a giant fishbowl of gin and garden. yes, a whole garden in my gin cocktail that tasted mostly of gin and garden. i mean, it looked sensational, but it certainly was no english rose. like me. i'm an englush rose, not a gin garden.

the moral of the story is this: there's an incredible pub right around the corner from my house, that just launched an amaaaazing new menu, and is about to debut a summer-full of pop-up events in the event space upstairs. i'll be popping along to the launch of the pop-up space - three penny mansion, later in the month, so keep your eyes peeled for my take on that! for the time being, if you're a se23 local, or are prepared to travel for affordable cocktails and an amazing new menu, then head on over.

the railway telegraph in forest hill is waiting for you.

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