Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The (ever so slightly) Crooked Well

Riots may well be now spreading accross London affecting both my area (near London Fields) and the Fashionista's "hood", Camberwell, however before this mayhem ensued, I managed to fit in a quick visit to a new restaurant down in Camberwell which has been receiving some pretty good reviews, the Crooked Well.

Camberwell, despite its chequered past, has got some great little eateries (my favourite Xinjang(ese) restaurant, Silk Road, and great tapas at Angels and Gypsies- second only in London, in my view, to Brindisa) so given the upward trend I was quite excited to try this new offering. 

Of course we hadn't booked a table but thought we would try our luck in any case.  The maitre de greeted us warmly but said that unfortunately there would be no tables available until 9:30 (it was 8) so we had a look around and then wandered away disappointed only to find out that Angels and Gypsies was also full for the evening (a pretty regular occurrence).  And so we decided to return in the hope that someone would chow down their food faster than expected and allow us to swoop on their table.

We sat at the bar, had a drink and shared some tasty olives.  We were just about to order another drink and continue waiting when we noticed a table free in the "bar" area (the maitre de had definitely not been keeping his eyes open) and asked the wonderfully cheerful French barman if we would be "allowed" to eat the restaurant food in the bar area- "why of course" came the reply.

So off we went to sit down and the barman came across with menus etc (the maitre de was still resolutely failing to notice the fact that a table had become empty and we were now sitting down, although, in fairness, he did apologise later).  The starters looked interesting and we decided to go for pork belly served with crackling, watercress, capers and a tuna creme fraiche.  I am all for a bit of surf and turf but have never come across the idea of tuna and pork so was happy to give it a go.  Unfortunately it was a little bit of a let down- the belly was dry (I am not sure how this is possible with a cut like belly), the crackling tasted of old oil and the tune creme fraiche was simply nothing other than average.  A disappointing start...

Pork belly, crackling, watercress, capers and a tuna creme fraiche.

On to the mains and, to my surprise and delight, the Fashionista had agreed to go for the two person rabbit and bacon pie (pies are not normally her kind of thing!). The pie came on its own so we decided to get a plate of mixed greens on the side.

Two minutes before the pie arrived I turned to the Fashionista and said- the pie's ready- the smell wafting down from the upstairs kitchen was unmistakable.  Sure enough shortly after the pie arrived along with a plate of kale (so much for the mixed greens).  The pie was absolutely delicious- fluffy puff pastry with juicy shredded rabbit and big chunks of bacon underneath- a great pie which would probably have done for at least three if not four people (suffice to say, the two of us saw it off!).
Bacon and rabbit pie (for two).

Given the size of the pie, there was just not enough space for us to fit anything else.  The bill, for the two of us with a (very average) bottle of wine, was over £60- a reasonable price for two for a shared starter, main course and wine if they were all up to scratch.  Unfortunately, though, the starter was a real let down and, while the pie was fantastic, for £60 in London you can get so much more for your money.  If you are in Camberwell I would suggest that you try Angels and Gypsies and give this place a miss- its just not worth it when you have such great options, which deliver consistently on every level, so close by! 

Crooked Well on Urbanspoon

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