Part of the stylish Antic group of pubs, the East Dulwich Tavern (EDT) offers a good range of food and a fantastic selection of beers and ales, all in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
An enviable location at number 1, this pub takes up the whole corner of the top of Lordship Lane – you really can’t miss it. The exterior has a traditional pub feel, with large windows, dark paint and benches outside for patrons to while away summer days. The inside continues the traditional feel, with a few quirky extras like chalkboards with sayings such as ‘always practice safe eating – use condiments’ and antlers hanging on the wall. You’ll find a huge amount of space, with the bar dominating the middle of the room offering service to each side, something that’s very handy for busy nights. To the far right of the pub is a large restaurant-style area that offers more secluded dining, while the main areas directly to the right and left of the bar offer plenty of more relaxed seating (think cushioned benches, chesterfield sofas and well-worn tables). There’s also a raised area that would be a good space for larger groups and a hugely popular function room that’s often booked for wedding receptions and private events.
You’ll find regular locals propping up the bar along with groups of colleagues getting together for after-work drinks. At the weekend, the EDT offers the perfect starting point for a bit of a day out around Lordship Lane, so expect everyone from lads’ nights out to birthday gatherings. There’s a relaxed feel to the bar and enough space so that everyone can happily enjoy themselves. Whilst the pub is sure to get busier as the week goes on, you get the feeling that, given the ample space, it’s unlikely to feel too overcrowded – a downside of so many London pubs. Staff are attentive and know their stuff about the menu, so just ask if you need any help.
A succinct list of dishes comprises of everything you could want from a traditional-style pub, with a few meals that go beyond the norm. There’s a good blend of meat, fish and vegetarian, so everyone should be satisfied. Starters include grilled pitta, Kalamata olives and hummus (£4.50) – a lovely Greek-inspired dish – and baked camembert with crusty bread (£6), with perfectly gooey cheese and huge hunks of fresh bread for dipping; both starters are plenty for one or would be great as part of a few dishes to share between groups. Mains include pub classics like sirloin steak with garlic butter and hand-cut chips (£12), beer battered haddock with hand-cut chips (£8), and 8oz Welsh black beef burger with salad, relish and hand-cut chips (£9), which you can add cheese and bacon to for an extra 50p each. This is notable for its succulent meat, crunchy salad and tangy relish. Moving away from the classics you can enjoy grilled trout with baby new potatoes, rocket and pine-nut butter (£8.50), or fettuccine with garlic, crispy bacon, chorizo and baby spinach (£8 – or £5 for a smaller portion), which is a creamy pasta dish with beautifully soft chorizo and a tasty sauce. There are just three desserts, but the strawberries with clotted cream and shortbread (£4) is certainly worth leaving room for.
The EDT has a glowing reputation among ale-lovers and they stock a great range – with pints starting at just £2.60 a pint (most are £3.40 plus). On hand-pump you’ll find tipples such as St Austell Tribute, Harvestouns Born to be Mild, Adnam’s Lighthouse and Castle Rock’s Harvest Pale. These rotate on a regular basis and award-winning tipples from Dark Star, Brew Dog and Purity regularly feature. Other pumps include Zatec lager, Blue Moon craft beer, Amstel and Heineken. Bottled beers start at £3.40 and there’s a great range from all over the world including craft beers from Belgium and America. Try Brugge Blonde, Little Creatures, Chimay Rouge, Delirium Tremens, or, the strongest on the list at 9.5%, Westmalle Tripel. The EDT is a great place to try something you haven’t tried before, and the bottled beer menu lists each option with tasting notes to help you along. Wine is also available, with house white and red starting at £13.25 a bottle and rose at £14.75. As you’d expect, there’s also a comprehensive range of spirits.
The Last Word
With something to keep everyone from beer aficionados to relaxed foodies happy, the EDT is a real gem on vibrant Lordship Lane.