Sunday, March 29, 2009

Eat Pub Food : The Bear, Camberwell

I am a lazy cook. I enjoy cooking but don't really enjoy the hassle that goes along with it. You know, the cleaning up, the buying the ingredients, the waiting. I am just as happy to go somewhere and have a nice meal and pay for it as long as it's not too absurd. This is especially pertinent when it comes to a good roast. I don't think you can really beat a good home cooked roast but it's a labour of love for a group of people, not really a meal for one.

So, this weekend, consumed by the Sunday morning fug, I had arranged to meet an old friend of mine in the Bear. The Bear is another one of those places which seem so unassuming from the outside but you can tell the quality the minute you step through the doors. Rated one of London's best Sunday lunches by the Observer Food Monthly, I had high hopes for this place.

Grabbing the Sunday Times off a table covered in all the Sunday papers, we sat down perused the menu and munched on the bread and butter brought to us. The menu is not your normal Sunday lunch fare with a variety of other options including venison sausages (which went down rather well with my mate) and some fish and duck options. Regarding the roast options, these were plentiful and left me somewhat in a quandary. The veggie option was out of the picture (I'm almost a carnivore), but the chicken, pork and beef options left me salivating. Accompaniments of homemade apple sauce or cauliflower cheese nearly swayed me but ultimately, the roast beef won with its Yorkshire pudding and horseradish.

So, to the main event, did it live up to expectations? The beef was nice and had decent flavour so no real complaints here. The Yorkshire (as you can see from the picture) was a little on the small side and there was little to none of the advertised gravy which was disappointing. The roast tatties were a real winner, however. Advertised as roasted in duck fat, these had a delicious crunch with a really good flavour followed by a silky smooth inside. Overall verdict, a competent roast if nothing special.

I was still slightly peckish after the main event so opted for my personal favourite, a crème brulee. This incarnation came with a rhubarb compote, which kind of confused me a bit. When it arrived, it confused me even more, this appeared to be two dishes as opposed to one to be eaten together. Having said that, the compote was perfectly nice with the tanginess of the rhubarb being nicely complemented by the sweet sugary syrup. The brulee itself was a triumph, smooth and velvety with strong vanilla flavour, and the required crunch from the burnt sugar top.

Having settled the bill (less than £20 pp with a pint) I got up to leave and only then did it occur to me how packed the place was. It was just after 2 and the place was rammed wall to wall with families and child buggies. Definitely family friendly then, always good to know, whether to visit or avoid ;)

Bear Free House on Urbanspoon


Hungry Jenny said...

Yorkshire pud a 'little on the small side' - I can't even see it!

tehbus said...

I think that was the angle of my photography more than anything!

But you're right, Yorkshires should be big and fluffy.