Sunday 15 November 2009

The Prince Regent, Dulwich Road, south London

Opposite Brockwell Park and stranded half way between Brixton and Herne Hill, the Prince Regent is an inviting and popular gastropub that has retained most of its Victorian ambiance. It has outside tables, in the shadow of two stocky antique lamp posts, while light floods in through the large windows into the cosy, wood-panelled bar adjacent to a dining room with an array of big, sturdy wooden tables. The laid-back atmosphere is accentuated by the newspapers, the well-thumbed books and the pile of board games. On draught are a couple of real ales, plus a handful of well-known lagers, such as San Miguel (£3.50 a pint) and Becks (£3.10). If you want something soft, the cloudy apple juice is good and is served with a slice of apple wedged on to the glass.

On a Sunday lunchtime, the Prince Regent quickly fills up with mostly middle-class locals attracted by the fine roasts served up by a French chef. While you read the menu, you get hunks of fresh and nutty, brown bread served with olive oil. The selection of a half-dozen main courses include a substantial serving of roast chicken with roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, mange tout and a light Yorkshire pudding in gravy (£11) - all well-seasoned and very tasty. The rich, slow-cooked beef bourguignon (£13) is also delicious, but the large cod and chips comes with a bit too much batter, while the roast beef is pricey at £16. If you haven't had breakfast, you might be tempted by the brunch menu, which includes a couple of thick slices of lean ham, two fried eggs and some fine chips (£6). You can also get a traditional English fry-up or some more exotic options, such as kedgeree. Service can be sluggish, but the Prince Regent's food is generally well worth waiting for. 8/10