Monday, 18 June 2012

The Bishop, East Dulwich

There are bajillions of gastropubs in East Dulwich. It's gastropub galore. So The Bishop on Lordship Lane has a lot to contend with, and quite frankly, I wouldn't bother. It's owned by The Capital Pub Company, who have a number of successful pubs in the area - including The Florence in Herne Hill and The Victoria Inn, which has lodgings as well, in Peckham Rye. The Bishop advertises itself as 'The best pub on Lordship Lane', and if that's the case, there's an Iceland down the road that may be worth a punt for an evening tipple instead.
It looks pretty promising from the outside, with a giant chess piece (a pawn. Joking it's a bishop) sitting imposingly above the door and huge windows looking out onto the heart of Lordship Lane. But The Bishop suffers from Monet Syndrome - the artist I mean. That is, it looks alright from a little way away, but the closer you get to the inside, the shitter it becomes. Ok maybe not exactly like Monet, but you catch my drift.
The inside is pretty big, booths that are a 90s shade of mustard leather sit on the side and by the windows, and uncomfortable looking stools around tables are scattered about. It's half-heartedly gone for that quirky bric-a-brac vibe, but it's like it bought all it's "quirky bric-a-brac" from IKEA. There looks like there's a huge wall of books right at the back in a quieter corner that might have added some character, but it's actually just fancy wallpaper. There are candles above the bar in the shapes of chess pieces but they're not allowed to be burned.  Most of the pictures on the walls are dull posters advertising Weasel Beer, an ale brewed by The Florence, there's just something quite corporate about it. It generally just gives off the vibe of being a little soulless - aiming for sophisticated charm and failing.
Surrounding shops include a deli, a Cafe Nero, a maternity wear shop, and across the road is Green and Blue Wines, which advertise themselves as an 'Organic and biodynamic wine shop, bar and deli'. Let's not even go there. The pub has a loyalty card for mums in the area which is good. It offers them different deals every month, so at any one time the place usually has a fair few, spritzers in hand and pram handle in the other. To give you another idea of the area, I was sat by the window looking out onto the road where, not once, but twice saw a brand new white Porsche drive past. TWICE.
"That was probably just the same one though."
Yeah alright.
The menu isn't cheap, mains are around £10 and patchy. The squid and chickpea salad had perfectly cooked squid and was nice and spicy. For lunch I ordered the 'Roast chicken, fresh peas and raddichio salad with a yoghurt and mustard dressing', £9.50. The leaves were overdressed and underseasoned (there's no salt and pepper on the tables either), and the dressing tasted more like salad cream than yoghurt and mustard. The chicken was fridge cold and came as if it had picked off a roast chicken from the day before. It probably had - their roasts are actually quite good, but this chicken didn't taste of anything either. I felt pretty cheated having been charged almost a tenner for a salad I could have made at home from leftovers. It came with a few sugar snaps, several of them browning, as if they were about to go off so may as well be shoved in there. Oh, the peas were fresh though, so that is something. 
This place gets pretty packed on weekends, more yummy mummys sharing a bottle of vino (I find it really strange they don't do cocktails, they'd make a killing), and a few guys sitting resolutely at the bar chugging Jaegerbombs on Friday nights, trying to impress the female staff 20 years their junior. They also have a dog that lives in the pub, Clarence, who walks round bewilderedly, getting patted and prodded by punters in the evenings.
Drinks aren't cheap, especially the beers - their cheapest pint is £3.60, and it's £4.50 for a pint of Erdinger. On top of this, food is average at best, overpriced and the atmosphere isn't great. Spend your cash somewhere else, you worked hard for that. 
The Bishop
27 Lordship Lane
East Dulwich
SE23 8EW
Tel: 0208 693 3994
Opening Times
Mon-Thurs: 11:30 - 00:00
Fri: 11:30 - 02:00
Sat: 11:00 - 02:00
Sun: 11:00 - 00:00

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