We have joined forces with the lovely people at olive Magazine to bring you a spankin’ new series about the best places to enjoy a boozy lunch in the capital. The ultimate food porn. olive is to food what BarChick it to booze so if you’re as in to your sushi as you are your Sweet Manhattans you should probably check out their Facebook page.
We’re starting to think that the people of Dulwich are keeping lots of secrets. Not least, what a fantastic part of London this is. While quietly evading hipsters, it’s built up a rather lovely collection of places to eat and drink, and swine shop and restaurant, TOASTED, is a splendid recent addition.
Heading up the kitchen is Michael Hazelwood, (although his staff call him Hazel), who, following stints at Soif and The Green Man and French Horn, has teamed up with front of house buddy Alex Thorp to launch TOASTED. It has the warm buzz of a neighbourhood bistro and is clearly an instant hit with locals. While the menu is mind bogglingly good, (we’ll come to that in a minute), the wine takes centre stage. It’s hard not to be distracted by the brilliant value of their bulk wines, which are imported from France and stored in purpose-built, 300 liter, stainless steal tanks. At a mere £3 a glass, the Provencal rosé is a steal. However there is an extensive range of wines (over 200), to drink or take home, with a focus on small, boutique producers
Start your boozy lunch off with a plate of delicious Italian ham a.k.a spalla cotta, £5. Bread is baked on site in a wood fired oven and comes with the most delicious jersey butter. It has that fantastic farm yard flavour and we couldn’t get enough of it. Hazel is an absolute magician in the kitchen, and while there is a real simplicity to the menu and ingredients, something astonishing happens in the kitchen. Each dish sings with flavour and while the menu changes almost daily, you can expect treats such as kale with tuna butter, £5, beetroot and smoked curd, £6.50 and a mouth watering lamb, fennel, liquorice and anchovy dish, £15.
Desserts are a real highlight, and despite there only being two of us, we tried all three. The winner, in our imaginary competition was the yoghurt, cherries and almond, £6.50.