SE1: The Garrison, Bermondsey Street

After my high praise for SE1 as the pub destination I thought I was onto a sure-fire winner with the Garrison on Bermondsey Street. It’s been a few years since my last visit but it seemed like the perfect place for a December Supper Club (albeit Sunday lunch) and another tick for SE1. This unfortunately wasn’t to be the case with an experience that is truly frustrating. There are aspects that I would rave about and others that ultimately had us walking away disappointed.

So in the interest of fairness the positives. Firstly the food. We all agreed that it was very good. Cockles going as far rating as one of the beat roasts he’s had in years. Then there’s the little things; those nice touches that stick in the mind and ultimately should bring you back. The barman volunteering a small taster of the beer was a good start and the Garrison jam recipes with the bill should have bookended a great Sunday lunch experience.

Without even stepping through the door things had already taken a turn for the worst. Despite having booked a month previous a confirmation call the day before told us that our leisurely lunch would be curtailed with just 90 minutes available for our table. I fully understand the rationale in turning tables but to find out with less than 24 hours notice gives you little choices to change. Throw in Transport for London and Gio’s Italian time keeping and 90 minutes isn’t a great deal of time.  Add the service at a snails pace and things don’t look good.  On this occasion any hope of getting a drink at the bar without waving your arms was unlikely. Once seated with the clock ticking starters are off the menu and we move to the mains; a shame as we all have something in mind; and the point of the Supper Club is indulgence, when thoughts of cost and fat content are forgotten. The mains as said are great and as the plates are cleared the dessert menu is offered. At this point there may be enough time but it doesn’t materialise for 15 minutes at which point we are told to order quickly as the table is booked. To me, in fact to all of us, this was a final disappointing act which left the bill as four mains plus drinks. Service was excluded and when explaining why it hardly seemed to register. The website boasts Michelin recommended which for the main course stands up. I obviously cannot comment on starter or dessert, but service needs to take a huge leap forward. Perhaps Supper Club will next reconvene North of the river.

99-101 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XB

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2 Comments to “SE1: The Garrison, Bermondsey Street”

  1. And this is precisely why we’ve only ever been to The Garrison once :-) It should be fantastic -good location, some tasty beers, promising food – but sadly the table turn around times coupled with slow (and dare I say it, on the occasion we visited, arrogant) service lets it down badly. We were told we couldn’t have dessert even though there were 20 minutes left (by the time they came to take our order…) until we had to vacate our table. Disappointing.

    But then they must be doing something right to need to limit the time for each table and turn I’ve so many covers?

    • I think that if you look to the Anchor & Hope, Canton Arms etc it shows that you can have a no booking policy (and not feel the pressure to turf people out) and still prosper… As it goes the Garrison got £30 a head. If they had given us at least say an extra hour we would have probably spent £25+ extra each with starter, dessert, another bottle of wine and paid the service charge… Turning tables so aggressively to me is a false economy.

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