Tuesday 11 September 2007

The Dolphin, Sydenham High Street, South London

The drab facade to this recently-refurbished pub is deceptive. Inside, there is a large, attractive bar, decorated in a mostly minimalist-style with cool, dark walls, stripped floorboards, leather and wooden chairs. Out the back, is a large, heavily-landscaped and immature garden surrounded by walls propped up by red, iron girders. This substantial, enclosed space makes the Dolphin popular with young families and the garden can feel like a creche, but a giant game of Jenga and a giant set of dominoes in one corner distracts the kids. Service by the youthful staff is friendly and attentive, but somewhat confused, particularly when it comes to running a tab. The quirky menu includes an impressive array of Iberian cured meats (£8.50), served on a wooden chopping board, and a large slab of tepid, rare beef (£11.95), accompanied by a dry and crusty Yorkshire pudding, a couple of salty roast potatoes and some delicately-steamed vegetables. Still, an intense and rich chocolate pot for desert will take your mind off what has gone before. 6/10