I'm under the firm belief that Sunday afternoons are pretty much what roast dinners and pubs were made for - I dare anyone to disagree. But finding the right pub can sometimes feel like a treasure hunt. A gem found just south of the river, The Ladywell Tavern is a good ol' neighbourhood pub, where I found all of the above, and more.
The Venue and Atmosphere
Doors wide open, welcoming all who pass by, we were immediately greeted by a friendly face. Recently given a healthy dose of TLC, the pub has been carefully restored to its former glory. With plenty of space to dine in both sides of the bar, the section to your left (as you walk in) has a distinctively cosy charm to it - mostly due to the large open coal fire cracking on throughout our stay. Stacks of logs pile high by its side and up against the exposed brick wall creating a rustic country pub feel. With only one window for natural light to flow in, the left side space is dimly lit with that of the fire and candles dotted on each table - a warming ambience where I could easily make my nest for the day.
The chairs and tables are a mixed bag of wooden furniture, along with the other random splashes of colour on canvas prints, walls and doors, adding a pop-art meets punk element to the space. Dining tables are never unoccupied for long, hosting families, locals, couples and friends, all in need of a Sunday roast fix. For some who just fancy a Sunday drink stop, there are a few board games to choose from to keep you entertained.
The Food and Drink
Entertaining friends that weekend, we had checked out various hot spots the night before and were in need of a bit of TLC. The Ladywell Tavern's Sunday menu is strictly roast dinners, with four mouth watering options; Horseradish & Maple Syrup Roasted Sirloin of Beef, Slow Braised Apple Juice Pork Belly, Half Roasted Lemon Thyme Chicken and Root Vegetable Patavia for the vegetarians. Our roast dinners could not arrive sooner, and going off piste on my dinner choice (normally a strict chicken dinner lover), I opted very wisely for the Pork Belly. A tender piece of meat, crisp on top and smothered in rich meaty gravy, the quality of the meat was clear and the flavours just right. Equally as strong a choice, my friend opted for the Vegetable Pativia. This mix of vegetables cooked golden under a layer of rich buttered pastry added all the right Autumnal elements to a plate.
All dinners are served with roast potatoes, yorkshire puddings, carrots and greens - I couldn’t help but think stuffing should have been included - but alas the plate was piled full of hearty and flavoursome, well cooked vegetables and tender pork. Determined not to leave a spec of food on our plates, we took our time to chat and enjoy our dinner, which can be a rare opportunity in the fast paced rat race of London. In true Sunday fashion we had to order desserts. There is no choice in the matter when an Apple & Rhubarb Crumble with a hearty serving of stewed fruit topped with a buttery crumble is on the menu. Not forgetting the Sticky Toffee Pudding with a gloriously thick caramel coat melting the vanilla ice cream, there’s nothing more that could have been done to make this meal any better.
Not too far from the overground and bus links, The Ladywell Tavern is just slightly off the beaten track so as to keep it busy, but not overcrowded. Offering a laid back, warm and friendly atmosphere for neighbours and passers by to enjoy, this is a pub showing other pubs how it's done. A little treasure I suggest you find? You bloody bet.