Sunday 2 March 2014

The Victoria Inn, Choumert Road, south London

In a middle class enclave on Peckham's borders, the Victoria Inn can be buzzing on a Saturday night. Brimming with bright young things, the up-tempo music is loud and tables are hard to come by. The tasteful interior is a well-judged compromise between Victoriana and clean, contemporary lines. The menu ventures beyond classic pub grub and into more imaginative restaurant-style fare. The smoked pork shoulder with winter slaw, potatoes in paprika and bbq sauce (£13.50) is a fatty, fleshy and satisfying cold weather dish.  The beaded halloumi sticks (£6) are rich, salty and dry - you really need the excellent cauliflower and gruyere puree accompaniment. Another good choice is the squid with cucumber, carrot, kohlrabi & mango salad £7), which offers a good, crisp mix of textures and tangy flavours. On tap are a decent selection of beers, including some from the microbrewery at the sister pub The Florence and the smooth Italian beer, Moretti (£4.20 a pint). Fizzy water seems to be free. The waiting and kitchen staff, who you can see though the large serving hatch, work hard and with good humour. It is easy to see why the Victoria Inn is popular. 7/10