“Let’s walk,” I said after we decided to go for Sunday lunch at the newly refurbished Honor Oak Tavern in Forest Hill. Mrs TLE didn’t like the idea, “it’s either that or we go for a run first” I added, before she quickly scuttled towards the door.

We set off on a steady stroll across the parks and streets of south London to work up an appetite. En route Mrs TLE urged me to call ahead and book a table but I decided it couldn’t be that busy. How wrong I was. When we arrived at half past three it was packed, but the staff were very friendly and said it would be a 45 minute wait. It’s our own fault to be fair, so we ordered a drink from the great selection of cask and craft beers and the extensive wine selection and went to sit in the huge outdoor seating area.

Luckily, we actually got our table quicker than expected and were sat in the dining area with its glass roof and open kitchen allowing us to watch the chefs at work, and how they worked! The chef Robert Radcliffe has drawn on his ten years’ experience in some of London’s finest pub dining establishments. His homemade chutneys, piccalilli, and jams are available for you to buy to take home.

The menu offered two Courses from £18.95 and three courses from £22.95. We opted for Ham Hock and Parsley Terrine, Piccalilli, Sourdough Toast (£6.50) and Candied Golden Beetroot, Welsh Goats Cheese, Honey Dressing (£6.50) for our first course, then we headed into the roasts with Roast Rare Breed ‘British White’ Sirloin of Beef and Horseradish Sauce (£14.95) for me and Mrs TLE opting for a half Roast Chicken, Sage & Onion Stuffing (£12.95). Both meals were served with braised carrot and parsnip, duck fat roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, real ale gravy and buttered kale.

Everything about the roast was superb and nothing was left on the plate afterwards, but I still had room for the Lemon Posset, Lavender Shortbread (£6.00), which was served with an artistic flair.

We got a taxi home too relaxed to consider walking back. It’s safe to say this corner of south east London can lay claim to one of the best gastro pubs south of the river. It even shows the football, but with a relaxed crowd, don’t expect chanting and pint swilling, but rather the more discerning soccer fan.

The Honor Oak is open for coffee and pastries from 10 am, and the kitchens start serving the full menu from midday. The good people of Brockley/Forest Hill/Honor Oak finally have a destination venue on their door step. Rest assured I will be coming again, but I’ll book this time. Lesson learnt.

The Honor Oak can be found at 1 Saint German’s Road SE23 1RH

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