South East London holds a dear place in my heart. Being the first part of city that I moved to, I still love the slow(er) pace, and especially have a fond spot for the local pubs. The Honor Oak used to be one of my old haunts, and upon hearing that they were now doing a Bottomless Bingo Brunch, I jumped at the chance to get involved.
The Venue and Bingo
Inspired by a tree that the Queen would picnic under in the summer, The Honor Oak is a quirky little local that can be found in Forest Hill. On initially walking in, a living wall will immediately grab your attention thanks to beautiful plants, flowers and grass which scale the length of the room. Large windows welcome the light in, and the decor inside is filled with traffic lights, random signs and odd trinkets throughout.
On a bank holiday weekend, we ventured here in favour of some bingo, brunch and good vibes. Making our way in for 12pm, the dining room was just filling up with bingo enthusiasts and everyone was settling in for the fun fuelled three hours that were ahead. The order of play was simple: first you order and inhale the delicious food, and then when you’ve had your fill, the fun and games commence. As soon as we sat down, we were offered a drink (Bloody Mary’s or Mimosa’s), and not once did we have to ask for them to be topped up… a good sign of what was to come.
The food I’ll get to, but what bloody good fun we had throughout those three hours. The room itself holds about 25 people, and by the end of the session, it felt like everyone at the brunch knew each other. Our fabulous host Ria Lina was not only hilarious, but engaging and a natural at getting everyone involved. Within a few minutes she knew everyone's name, got everyone excited about the games and didn't miss opportunity to get the group laughing with her sarcastic one liners. Bingo itself was something I’d never played before (I know, right?), but with such good atmosphere it was hard to shy away from shouting the numbers that were being called out in hints.
The Food and Drink
Call me crazy but I like getting my money's worth at a brunch. Typically, in London, you’re looking at around 1.5 or 2 hours for an everything-included sitting. Imagine my complete shock and amazement when I was told that this brunch was offering 3 hours of unlimited booze. 3 hours, I still can’t get over it. Through staff whispers, I found out that the Bloody Mary has a secret recipe, owing to why it might have been so delicious. If you get talking to the them, try getting at what this recipe contains, as I couldn’t and have been longing for a Bloody Mary like this ever since.
As well as the generosity of alcohol available to you, for an absolute bargain of £25, you also have quite a varied brunch menu to decide from. Not only is there a healthy option in the shape of Crushed Chilli Avocado with Poached Eggs, there’s also old favourites like a Full English and Eggs Florentine. I opted for the Eggs Benedict, which I will definitely admit to being one of my brunch favourites. This didn't disappoint, and the nervous moment of checking to see if my poached eggs were runny was met with sheer delight. My friend opted for the Savoury Pancakes, which was accompanied with bacon, poached eggs and maple syrup. Heaven for those who like a bit of sweet and savoury in their meal. While the portion sizes are plentiful, those that love a snack or two throughout bingo are encouraged to take full advantage of the bottomless toast, butter and jam servings.
While I had been to The Honor Oak before, there is new management here and it seems like their focus is to make this a pub for everyone. We had such a great time at this brunch that we’ve bought more tickets for our group of friends to enjoy it and since, I’ve been back for their Jazz Sundays and for a terrific lunch. If you’re looking for a bargain brunch or are around this area, The Honor Oak is a must visit.