We don’t normally like to eat in the kitchen. That’s what dining rooms are for. Or, if, you don’t have a kitchen – then lounges will do the job – provided you do not eat off a plastic lap tray with a picture of kittens on it. Apart from anything else it’s bad for your back! However as we were looking for somewhere to eat on a sunny Sunday to dispel our post-holiday blues we were attracted by the frankly massive windows of the Bermondsey Kitchen, and the prospect of topping up our tans while enjoying eggs was impossible to resist.
Now, we’ve already reviewed nearby Village East, and we are trying to widen our hunt across the whole of London (and the woooorrrld) – but it’s not our fault if two really nice looking eateries are only yards from each other is it? Blame the council.
Bermondsey Street is one of the best streets in South London for eating and boozing. Special mentions to the burgers at The Woolpack and The Garrison consistently has a long wait for tables. (As the impatient sort we have yet to eat there..!)
The Bermondsey Kitchen is a really great place to chill out on a summery day thanks to those massive table height windows which line the front of the restaurant. There’s only one little table outside on the pavement, but the high ceiling and large spaces between the tables give the inside a really outside-y feel. It might feel a bit chilly on a dark winter’s morning, but right now it works a treat.
The decor is classic London bistro – very homely, solid looking wooden tables, neutral colours with dandelion stencilling along one wall, a few leather sofas and stools surrounding a coffee table by the entrance where you could enjoy a coffee and read about the latest love-rat scandal Cheryl has forgiven Ashley for.
The centre is dominated by a large bar area and open kitchen. We were seated roughly 10 feet from the chef who was poaching our eggs (more on this later…!) which is a novel experience. Your senses are accosted with the aromas wafting over. This is brilliantly, frustratingly mouth-watering as you scan the menu and await your order, but while you’re eating it is a bit weird when you’re delicately loading in a fork-full of Eggy B whilst your nose is tricking your brain into thinking “MMmmmm roast lamb and parsnips!” or “ooooh cumberland sausages!”. But aside from that there’s the entertainment value of watching how the real chefs do it.
The chap who cooked up our eggs cracked about 8 into a huge rumbling pot… start your watches… We tried to distract ourselves with humorous holiday anecdotes…cue very twitchy Rob watch checking…2 minutes… (..has he put any seasoning in the water? Was that a dash of vinegar to stop the egg white breaking up….? Must be on the look out for tips for home…) Surely he should be taking the eggs out soon, if he doesn’t the yolk will be all hard and horrible…nothing worse….Still no sign of eggs. He’s messing about with someone else’s salad now, what about the bloody eggs! Don’t forget the bloody eggs!!…three and half minutes. We’re panicking now. They’re ruined. Should one of us go over and remind him about the eggs, would they throw us out for upsetting the heirarchy of the kitchen? How about if he’s addressed as chef? Yes chef, don’t forget the eggs chef, thanks chef….mmm this orange juice is nice, not sure about the Earl Grey tea choice though, should have stuck with English Breakfast. Check the stopwatch…
It certainly made things interesting anyway.
It’s table service and our waitress was very lovely and efficient. Our food came quickly (despite the mild panic over the egg situation) and we still had half a brew to enjoy with my eggs benedict. Incidentally the BK call this the ‘Eggs Bermondsey’. Since they serve up a fully-traditional eggs benedict, I think this is a bit of a liberty to be honest – if they want to put a cool twist on it then they get to change the name, if not – you’re simply denying Lemuel or Legrande Benedict the credit they so rightfully deserve!
There was a mix up on one of the other tables where a lady ordered the BK’s awesome-looking take on a full english, but without the Gloucester Old Spot bacon, sausages and black pudding (bit of an odd choice kind of like someone with a peanut allergy melting down a snickers to get at the nougat). When it mistakenly arrived draped in unwanted bacon there was an awkward moment when the waitress asked if it would be alright if they just took off the bacon, or did she want a whole new breakfast cooking….bit insensitive. I bet they didn’t leave the 12.5% service charge included on the bill.
This segment is a bit misleading as it begins by talking about the ham rather than the eggs. Our plates had really nice thick cuts of smoky, meaty goodness. This is definitely the best and most generous serving of ham we’ve been delivered with an eggs benedict.
We both agreed the muffins were in the top 3 of those we’ve had so far too – fluffy but with enough bite to be satisfying, and toasted to perfection on the Bermondsey Kitchen’s slightly scary looking flame grill.
The lesson here is to learn to trust professional chefs. This one clearly knew when the eggs were just right, without the crude mechanics of a timer. As we cut into the soft but solid white the golden yolk spilled forth (and Rob’s blood pressure dropped about 20 points). They were lovely.
The hollandaise on the other hand was a bit feeble by comparison. It let the dish down a bit really. We both felt a bit short-changed, with barley enough to cover our eggs, and definitely not enough left to wipe up with the last of that tasty muffin. It was a little anaemic in colour and wasn’t vinegary enough for our tastes – no kick to it, it was simply a little bit bland.
Overall though, it was a very enjoyable brunch. The slightly weedy hollandaise meant we could really enjoy the great flavour of the wonderful ham, but we both would have liked a bit more spark to it.
All of the food is British produce and the eggs are free-range.
Taste: 8/10 (great muffin, eggs and ham, let down by the sauce)
Originality: 4/10 (changing the name does not count!)
Value: 7/10 (£7.95 for two eggs)
Eggsecution (Cooking Of Eggs): 9/10
Will we be going back? Very probably – great venue, great location, great ham, eggs and muffin, pleasant service, shame about the hollandaise. Check out the brunch menu here.