The online home for all things Brockley (SE4), St John's, Ladywell, Nunhead and Telegraph Hill
BC review to follow, please post your comments and reviews here.
Is it still called the Rosemary Branch? I thought it was some sort of Thai/Chinese restaurant place these days.I have happy memories of the RB as a real student pub back in 1999 when I first lived in New Cross. Walls covered with film posters, a good mix of punters, it was one of the best in the area. Although it always seemed to suffer from an incredible lack of chairs.Then it became some sort of bland Hogshead type pub, the only saving grace of which was the beer garden. After that it had a spell as a gay pub, which seemed to mean loud thumping music at 8pm on a Tuesday - if you want that you go to the West End, not your friendly local gay bar.Its first incarnation is a sad loss; the latter two less so. Have never tried it in its restaurant incarnation.
I was persuaded to try this place out when meeting a friend who's a smoker, as it does have ample outdoor seating. In the course of one evening, two random pub customers, and three even more random people off the street tried to bum cigarettes off my smoking friend; two other random people off the street asked us for money, straight-up; and someone tried to sell us hash. Its a wonder we got a word in edgewise, really. The staff seemed nice enough, but the glasses were a bit grotty and, I'm not going back.
Last time I was in there (probably last year now) it looked like it had been taken over by a Thai family (as Patrick suggests) and they were doing it up (slightly). The beer was a bit rough (read undrinkable) but it was clearly a pub in transition, and I'd be up for trying it again.
It has indeed been taken over - by a lovely guy called Vincent and his Cantonese family. It has been renamed The Gourmet Bar and Vincent wants to turn it into an authentic South Asian restaurant. He has worked hard on cleaning up the front and back, putting lots of fantastic flowers etc and is now working on a plan to redesign the inside to create a better restaurant area. He has three chefs - native Thai, Cantonese and Vietnamese. It is still very much a mixed bag - the existing pub trade obviously brings in a lot of business whilst Vincent develops the restaurant side but he is conscious of the fact that he needs to decide which way to go, so he's working on his theme/design/website etc.My boyfriend, who's a Guinness fan, said his pint was very good. Our meal was mixed - some great dishes and some which were not quite there yet - but they were flat out with take-aways. The service was very friendly and I would definitely give it a go. Sit in the back garden or inside - avoid the front or you will get passing weirdos but there's nothing Vincent can do about that! Most of all, it's a small local business which is trying hard so please support it if you can.
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