Thursday, 27 February 2014

The Tommyfield, Kennington

A weekend at Stealth’s that started with a catch-up with friends and Chinese New Year celebrations in Lewisham, followed two night’s compromised sleep- punctuated by a, memorable (or best forgotten), trip to Brockley Market on Saturday morning – meant it was rather a surprise we were fit for much at all come Sunday afternoon.

But, as it was, we all felt surprisingly chipper; the sun was out, Stealth, very gallantly, offered to carry my heavy bags, we were looking forward to supping a nice pint of something cold and refreshing in some good company.

The Tommyfield, named after the 19th century London market that was home to Britain’s first fish and chip shop, is part of the Renaissance pub group and boasts a menu that offers sustainable English fish, old school pie and mash and free-range meat from their farm in Hampshire. They also have real ales, and soon we were all firmly ensconced at our table on the raised seating area, pints of, Battersea brewed, Wandle in hand.

It’s an agreeable sort of place that manages to artfully straddle the knack of balancing the sticky floor, rugby and real ale crowd with those who prefer a comfy sofa, a bloody mary and the weekend papers. And, being around the corner from Stealth’s house - our home away from home - it feels something like a local.

Despite the good memories, there is a disputed tale about one of our previous visits here. I believed that Stealth, rather touchingly, was taking me for a solo ‘bonding pint' one Saturday afternoon; while she maintains that we stopped because the shopping bags we were carrying back to her house were too heavy and she needed a mid-point breather. Good friends, eh.

The Ewing and I coerced the others to share the Heritage Beetroot and Tunworth Salad with Honey Dressing, despite the clear antipathy from the opposite side of the table toward the red root veg. This emotional manipulation came about as it was one of the cheeses served at our wedding breakfast and has now become a firm favourite.

Thankfully the Tunworth was a success, although half the table still haven’t changed their minds about beetroot. Luckily for us this meant we got to finish the dishes. While the Ewing really enjoyed the salad, served with frisee lettuce and orange segments, I found the honey dressing a little too one-note against the sweet veg and fruit slices, and at £6.75, it wasn’t cheap.

If the starters seemed on the spendy side, the mains appeared a veritable bargain. Boris, our companion for the afternoon, and I had the Orkney dry aged roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, which at £12.50 was decent value, and most importantly, a pretty masterful roast.

The plates came heaped with rare slices of thinly carved beef, crisp sweet greens and carrots, with a hidden cache of sticky spuds and parsnips buried at the bottom of the pile, and the hole lot was crowned by a superlative Yorkie – I later found it was National Yorkshire pudding day – with the requisite amounts of both stodge and crunch. They serve very good gravy and a particularly potent horseradish sauce, too.

The Ewing had the rabbit pie from the specials board, served with your choice of carbs or greens. This certainly looked the part, with its burnished pastry lid, complete with pastry rabbit, glowing in the afternoon sunlight. Taste wise the filling was good, if a touch dry – the perennial problem with bunny – but with excellent pastry and another steal at £12.50.

Stealth had the battered halloumi strips, a kind of poor man’s veggie fish and chips, which she proclaimed to be very good. Despite being such a fan of sharing her food - an ongoing debate that crops up during most mealtimes together - I noticed we were only offered some of her fried potatoes and not the fried cheese (she might also have noticed she wasn’t offered any roast beef…).

The others tried to cry off the prospect of pudding, but I had honed my eye on the banoffee pie served with a glass of Monbazillac. In the end we all managed, surprisingly successfully, to share a solitary slice of pie and a whole bottle of the desert wine; a very agreeable ratio.

I love a good sticky pudding wine, and always feel sad that it seems to be relegated to high days and holidays. This seemed the perfect occasion to share a glass or two; both complementing the deep wedge of banana-flecked, caramel and cream confection and crowning the finale of a fabulous weekend.

The Tommyfield on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Great article. From an aesthetics perspective could I suggest that a picture of the establishment might really bring the review to life. Also, one of your companions is wearing a really fetching blazer - please pass on my compliments to her good taste.