The landed Gantry

Just a few pics from last night's opening session at The Gantry, Brockley's newest bar and a very welcome addition to the station zone.

Moving kitchen operations to one of the warren of rooms downstairs has opened up a very pleasant bar area on the ground floor. Access is via a new door at the furthest end from the station (don't try to use the old one) and on warmer nights – last night just about qualified – the other patio doors open out onto a outside drinking/smoking area. The rest of the layout, including the conservatory and garden, is unchanged from TM2 (apart from the new kitchen), but has benefited enormously from the refurb.

There were lots of staff monitoring the further outposts last night – some additional experienced help has sensibly called in for the opening – and they were unfailingly friendly, helpful and coping very well with a pretty busy debut night. Brockley has clearly been looking forward to this opening.

They sell booze. Samual Adams and Asahi on tap. More beer by the bottle and a shortish but varied wine list with plenty by the glass and carafe. Cocktails will be available when things settle down a bit but even last night the odd Mai Tai was in evidence.

The main food menu doesn't kick in till next week but, on the evidence of a limited selection of bar snacks, we're in for a treat. Really good pork belly with a mustard dip, crispy crudités with a feta dip (the only veggie option at the moment) and this rich duck confit in the tiniest kilner jars known to humanity. There were also sardine fritters, the ubiquitous sliders and a few other tasty-looking morsels.

Brockley Central is looking forward to seeing what else the kitchen can offer and can also predict many an unscheduled after-work visit. Despite the rather confusing advice the business card seems to be offering, however, we won't be going there by cab.

140 comments:

M said...

That looks and sounds great. Will definitely pop in soon.

simon said...

Shame the beer choice looks so bad; a couple of uninspiring licence-brewed lagers. With so many good brewers in London nowadays and I would assume no PubCo landlord forcing them to sell rubbish, it's a shame they didn't do something better.

biff bifferson said...

looks good. i wasnt mad on TM2. went a couple of times and the food was alright but the service was all over the place. probably because of the layout

Anonymous said...

Looks good, do they have any ales on offer?

Anonymous said...

Same question here, any ales? Not impressed by the beer range based on that so it won't be an evening drinking spot for me :(

Brockley Ben said...

No ales, and I confess I didn't get a look at the bottled beer selection.

Al said...

Ale fans - the Catford Bridge Tavern is the place for you. The 171 bus will get you there.
(sorry The Gantry)

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! Don't think it's trying to be a beer place - it's a wine bar ... and a lovely one! I'll be there loads ...

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to The Gantry,
We had a wonderful night! A really warm, genuine and friendly environment! Draught beers are great too! Good choice…Will be back very soon! Can't wait until the food starts.

Anonymous said...

Must say the beer choice sounds very disappointing. highest margin choice me thinks.

simon said...

I'm not saying it has to be a 'beer place', and it's good to have somewhere that does decent wine. The two aren't mutually exclusive though; Mr Lawrence does it well. Just feels like beer drinkers have been fobbed off. I was looking forward to it opening and I guess I'm just disappointed.

Earl said...

Agreed very disappointed with the draught, and serving Samual Adams in 2/3 pints glasses, but charging pint prices no doubt, also a friend who went last night said they had the filth that is bottles of Desperados. It can't be trying that hard to be a wine bar as it says the list is 'shortish'. Hopefully the food will be better.

Anonymous said...

Al, I have to agree the CBT is great for ale.

Will give The Gantry a go for the food (which looks promising) but not the drink.

Do they sell the Meantime beer they originally said they'd sell (and got criticised for)? If not, it seems the criticism caused an ale step backwards.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to try it! The food at the Orchard is a little hit and miss - hopefully this will become the place where I can get a good meal in the evenings. Are they going to do brunch?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the food at the Orchard! They ran out of burgers and pork rolls the other day! I wish they would alternate the menu more, as I'm getting bored with it!

Anonymous said...

Don't want to be pedantic but Kilner jars have screw-top lids.

Anonymous said...

The Orchard food is pretty amazing! They have been using *way* too much salt lately, not sure why.

Brockley Ben said...

@anon 11:28 Pedantry is to be encouraged. I have learned something today. So what do we call these jobbies? Le Parfait jars? Cliptop jars?

@anon 11:30 Pretty amazing *and* too salty? Confusing.

FWIW I agree with the general "hit and miss" opinions about The Orchard. On balance more hits than misses (my OH, a veggie, would have that the other way round I think).

Anonymous said...

Yep - amazing food usually, but *lately* they have been using way too much salt ... so not so amazing.

Anonymous said...

Disappointing that there isn't any ales at all. One would do. Hopefully they'll get some in over time.

Anonymous said...

Is it so difficult to have a couple of cask ales? So basically both the Orchard and this joint will have a virtually identical offering of beverages. Decent wine list with a couple of lagers on tap? ??? If the cocktails are good, I suppose that could make a difference. I hope the management are reading this and reconsider. We want ale!

Anonymous said...

Do they have screens? Was hoping to check it out tonight but my partner has his heart set on watching the football

Mb said...

Kilner do both screw top and clip top jars.....

I've been off this week but will wait for I to settle down before popping in but looks great. Im sure they could get some bottles in if they dont feel comfortable keeping barrels properly?

Always liked the TM2 vibe but found the food average, the non existent kitchen was always going to be limiting.

Brockley Ben said...

@anon 11:58 They have a single screen in the main bar, cunningly hidden behind one of the chalk-board bar menus. Not sure about the other rooms or what they're intending to show on it yet.

@MB Agreed. Better to have a selection of bottle conditioned ales than have to go through the learning curve needed to keep real ale. (Although, as I say I didn't get a look at what bottles they have.) It's very much *not* a pub so no real surprise to find they don't do ale.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ben. Glad there is not an obtrusive screen but if they do decide to show the footie would be ideal (well for myself at least)

Anonymous said...

I will not be going there under any circumstances, people should stay at home at read books on self improvement rather than going out and engaging in trivial conversations.

Or go the the Brockley Barge

Malpas Simon said...

Popped in for a look last night and really liked the way they've kitted out the place. Great design and general interior.

Service was all over the place of course being the opening night, but made up for by everyone having a huge smile on their face and being super keen. (4 different staff members dealt with us and we only had a beer and a starter each!) Also lucky we're the honest type as they had no record of our food bill either...

The feel of the place seems much more quality restaurant than bar which is great for the area. But perhaps during the opening week if they're going to only do bar food they should also only charge bar prices, not restaurant ones. Beer was expensive at £4 for a pint of Asahi and £3.50 for 2/3's pint Sam Adams... After our starters we finished our beers and not having a main course on the way didn't really fancy shelling out another £7.50 for not quite 2 pints. Eager to try the wines and a couple of other starters next time though.

The food was absolutely fantastic. We had the sardines and the slider burgers. Good price, arrived promptly, very good presentation and perfectly cooked. For an opening night that's pretty damn good in my experience.

Overall, very happy the gantry has arrived and really looking forward to their full menu arriving.

daryl henderson said...

We stopped by the Gantry for a drink after having homeslice pizza at Brown's (which was fantastic). It looks great. They have done a great job. Look forward to being a regular.

Aricana said...

I've really been looking forward to The Gantry opening as I've been so disappointed with The Orchard of late. The meal we had there last Sunday was the worst we've ever had.

Anonymous said...

It's great the Gantry is open at last - the building is such an interesting space.

It's good the Orchard will have some more competition .The service there has been poor over the last 12 months and I've been waiting for somehting else to come along so I can avoid going there.

I was in a few weeks ago at around 7pm. A woman was happily sat by herself on a table with a sign saying "reserved at 8pm" and the manager tried to move her somewhere else as she was taking up too much room.

Fattyfattybumbum said...

I don't know why single customers do take up large areas of tables in busy bars and restaurants when places are really busy, why not just shift up or move to a single seat table, da fools!

Tamsin said...

Went by in the 484 around 10.15 and it looked to have a great buzz. Will go there soon.

Would like to put forward a suggestion for their keeping the screen to just the one space out of the several they have so ingeniously created.

Also a plea for their not piping the (I suppose inevitable) music to all the rooms.

Fattyfattybumbum said...

I don't know why single customers do take up large areas of tables in busy bars and restaurants when places are really busy, why not just shift up or move to a single seat table, da fools!

Anonymous said...

10/10 for me ... the toad has been kissed and turned into something far more glam!

Moira said...

A huge thank you to the Gantry team who not only coped with the numbers of visitors but made everyone at the Brockley Max poetry night very welcome. They are also one of the festival's sponsors, so well done to them for supporting a community event without knowing much about in in advance.

Anonymous said...

Shame the orchard is going downhill, being a regular there myself I thought they would make more of an effort with a new place opening across the road, clearly not…Lets hope they start turning things around.

Aricana said...

@ Anon 14.36
Agree. Would be great to have 3 or 4 great bar/restaurants close to Brockley Station.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the Orchard reads this - we clearly want to go there more, they just need to pick up the standard!

Tim said...

Orchard will have to sharpen up now, which is great. Those banging on about cask ale - I like it too, but get over it. It takes up too much space and time for the profit it generates.

Brockley Nick said...

How about we just appreciate that we now have two excellent local options, plus the Barge and a host of other local options, rather than playing them off against one another.

Tamsin said...

Poetry? I thought that was why I was on the way back from the Ladywell Tavern in the 484 - or did the event earlier in the week switch venues...

Anonymous said...

We have easily more than 2 excellent local options. Stop just counting the middle class, "nice" places.

Moira said...

There were two poetry nights on last night. FYI ale lovers, the Antic Bar at Art In The Park tomorrow (1-7pm) has cask ales by Liberty Beers, cider and lager on sale. Check out (in about half an hour) the B Max website for latest info on tomorrow's events.

BrockleyKate said...

I find the Orchard too smelly/smoky, I'm afraid, so after my initial affection for the place, my custom has dropped off sharply. I also generally want something more bar-ish than restaurant-ish and have been a bit saddened by its slide into a food-first approach. The last two times I've been in there, I've left without spending any money - partly because of the smoky kitchen smell, partly because all the tables were set up for food and the only place to sit for a drink was at the bar. A bit sad, as I do really like the place, but clearly they're doing well from other people so good luck to them.

I'd be quite sad to see the Gantry go down the same route, though - I'd really like something more bar-like, and less food-oriented. It does sound as though that is their chosen approach, though.

There are lots of good places to eat in the wider area - if I want to eat out locally I usually go to Babur or Le Querce - and we are still lacking a decent drinking-focused bar-type place. I always end up going to Jam Circus or Lawrences for evenings out. It would be so nice to have another option.

Anonymous said...

Kate - the Brockley Barge lets you chose between drink or fare depending on your mood.

BrockleyKate said...

Anon - I am a great fan of the Barge, as many of the regular posters on here would tell you. But sometimes I feel like going somewhere a little more bar-ish. Such as Jam Circus or Lawrences.

Tamsin said...

Rats - didn't spot the second Poetry event or I might have tried to visit both. (Or given up on the Ladywell Tavern and just gone to the Gantry when I found myself waiting more than half an hour for a bus.)

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if its doggy friendly? Either inside or in the garden ?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if its doggy friendly? Either inside or in the garden ?

Brockley Dogging Society said...

We can confirm it is dogger friendly, and last night alone we had it inside, outside and everywhere inbetween.

Our compliments to the chef.

Anonymous said...

The Asahi sounds a little pricey at £4, but isn't too out there compared to a lot of other places selling it. However charging £5.25 a pint for Sam Adams, when there are better tasting UK based alternatives that you could make as much money on at a cheaper price. I fear it is a beer selected based on the cool looking dispensing tap rather than a taste decision...

Also when Asahi and Sam Adams are both brewed down the road in Faversham, how is the price tag is so much (it's not like they're actually imported from Japan/USA)?

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to trying the gantry soon - shame about the beer though- and yes agree food and service not as good as it used to be in the Orchard- so maybe the competition will help- and if anyone really is doing anything with Lanterna let's hope it's a bar with the option of eating rather than a restaurant!

Zed said...

Wow I hadn't actually done the maths but yes it does make it £5.25 for a pint! I'd be shocked to pay that in Soho let alone here. Obviously it can't compete with the Barge on price but you'd have thought you'd be able to get a pint of something decent for less than £4 especially, as it's been pointed out, they're both brewed under license not imported. Hmmmn it looks like it's not the sort of place to get stuck in on a night more of a quick one before dinner downstairs. Shame.

Anonymous said...

Yes unfortunately I've had shocking food and service last time I went to both The Orchard and Le Querce. Shows how quickly places can go downhill if you take your eye off the ball.

Anonymous said...

Good point about Boston Lager. I didn't know it was brewed by Shepherd Neame until your post - what can be the justification for the price or the 2/3 pints!

http://tandlemanbeerblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/boston-lager.html

Anonymous said...

There's some great london and UK microbrewers doing some good keykeg like Brodies, Magic Rock and Thornbridge.

mp said...

they should have call it "the Gentry"

Anonymous said...

£5.25? Ouch. Still looking forward to trying the place but it seems unlikely to be a viable option for a local drink.

Oh well, best of luck to them anyway.

Timmy2wheels said...

£4 for a pint of Asahi is about right; you'd pay £3.50+ for a 330ml bottle elsewhere. I really think some people are stuck in the past when it comes to the price of things; businesses need to turn a profit or they just won't bother.

I too love real ale but it's not right for this place/space, so a well-thought-out, frequently-changing selection of interesting international beers would be fine. I haven't visited yet but it looks right on the money, and the food sounds promising.

Something every pub/bar/restaurant around here needs to work on is consistency. I've had some wonderful meals at The Orchard and The Talbot, for example, but also some absolutely dreadful ones - both food and service.

Anonymous said...

It's not a place for the serious beer drinker, but so what, the Barge serves lots of beers at prices that no local place could compete with. I'll booze in the Barge and go across the road on the odd occasion when the taste buds need some excitement.

NAT said...

I was a bit surprised that it was ever suggested that this was to be a real ale venue. You can do a small few things well and much though I'm a fan I don't find any particular association between Ale and food, which is a bit of a problem with the whole Gastro(pub) thing.

Ale, after all, is best enjoyed in the inglenook after a long day at the Grouse, with the Mail crossword. mmmm.

Anonymous said...

Just got back - not sure if they've quickly adjusted their prices or if Malpas Simon had the original figures wrong, but I think the Sam Adams was actually £3 for the 2/3 size glass. Still not cheap but a more reasonable price than first suggested.

Anyway, several impressions: staff were extremely friendly and welcoming, a very successful balance between being chatty and interfering - faultless there. Cheerful atmosphere, comfortable space... stopped worrying about analysing my surroundings after a pint and just enjoyed myself.

The only thing I'd say is that on tonight's evidence they'd be able to push the bar aspect at least as much as the restaurant... all of the rooms were full, with groups standing. Of course, it's the opening weekend, but I'd be inclined to dedicate at least one of the downstairs rooms to drinkers (or a mixture of drinkers and diners) as well... I get the sense from the original plans that the downstairs is supposed to be almost entirely restricted to diners? Anyway, just a thought...

Anonymous said...

I don't get the comments that " it's not meant to be a ale place". That's not what the ale fans want (well it would be nice, but we're sensible). I bet you can order a whisky, or a vodka, or a gin, there may even be more than one but it isn't a whisky bar (or gin or vodka bar). Offering people who drink ale their drink of choice doesn't suddenly change the dynamic of a place, it makes it somewhere that a block of potential customers would be happier to go and enjoy their drink of choice. How many Bars can you go into and get a gin and tonic? Almost all, so why should ale be different?

Anonymous said...

Exactly. It doesn't have to have a calvacade of cask pumps. Just a good keykeg ale would be nice. Beer and food go well together, even better than wine as there's more taste variations. If I like good food why I do I have to have bad beer!

Anyway, I wish them luck. And I live in hope of a brodies awesomestow ale on keg :)

Tim said...

Because Ale comes in massive barrels that take up loads of room and goes off if not drunk quickly enough. Ale people: THERE IS A REASON WHY YOUR PRODUCT IS NICHE

Brockley Nick said...

If you actually go in there, you'll see it's fairly obvious why there isn't any ale - it's a very small bar (if you remember TM2, the upstairs was little more than a corridor - it's a miracle they've found as much space as they have).

There is, however, plenty else to drink: port, lager, wine, champagne, brandy, gin, etc, etc, etc, etc.

I'm sure you'll cope.

ThatSimonThompson said...

This place will be good...will be. They have a base of friendly, happy staff. This is essential as personality is one thing you can't teach a waiter to have. I feel the first few months will be a big learning curve for them, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a cask ale (any good one will do, doesn't have to be organically brewed by unicorns wearing corduroy!) making an appearance. We were welcomed at the bottom of the stairs by a waitress who clearly isn't used to such footfall, but kept a smile on her face the whole evening and was extremely friendly. As was our waitress. We had a few bits from the snack menu and were quite impressed. The pork belly was everything it needed to be, the sliders were surprisingly good, well seasoned and still slightly pink. The confit was cute on the eye, and for us, just needed some sweetness and acidity to cut through such a fatty dish. So an equally 'cute' jar of compote or a reduction of some kind would've made it delicious. For me though, the real highlight came when we decided we'd push our luck and ask for a couple of Irish coffees, despite them not currently being on the menu. Our waitress asked the ever present owner, who said she'd speak to her expert coffee guy to see what he could do. Minutes later we were being presented with our request, along with the brilliantly charismatic barista Tom, who was beyond apologetic for the fact that he doesn't have his latte glasses yet and so was unable make them to his own standard, clearly far beyond these perfectly acceptable coffees, which Tom was "so embarrassed" by, he endeavoured to bring us a couple of cognacs on the house. If the team continue to be as customer focussed as they were last night, and the a la carte is as good as the snacks suggested, The Gantry will become very popular, and a reservation based venue. Maybe some changes I'd suggest off the bat would be to add a closing mechanism to the toilet door, as not all customers seemed able to do the honours themselves. Also the service light is a big distraction when you are in the left dining room. Maybe an old-school bell would suffice, or just a less intrusive light. Beyond that, I'm sure they will all find their Converse adorned feet soon enough, and I'll be looking to book a room for my birthday at the end of July.

Anonymous said...

They don't have ale so drink port or champagne instead... what world do you live in where you go out for a few ports? Next you'll be telling us to chill out with a nice dubonnet...

Brockley Nick said...

I went there last night. Started on lager (nice), then they suggested I try the port. Normally I can't stand the stuff, but Tom was so persuasive I gave it a go: delicious. There you go. What a world.

Anonymous said...

Port and blackcurrant, mmm, good honest booze.

Anonymous said...

@Tim - Ale is not niche, if you honestly think it is, then you're crazy. Also the storing of a good ale needs no more space or effort than the lagers they are currently stocking. In addition, they still have the options of bottles (which don't take up space or go off quickly) or doing an ale on gravity, such as The Orchard do fairly often. It really isn't hard!

@Nick - if I want a drink, I will go to the place selling what I want. The port may have been nice, but you don't go out to have a night on the port!

As somebody said earlier, it's disappointing if a place does good food but wrecks the experience with low quality drinks. Good luck to the place, but it's unlikely to be a regular haunt for me, regardless of how good the food is.

Anonymous said...

so a place where a bearded ale bore won't be bending my ear about the great pint of old Donkey Knob he had in Sussex. Most people go to a bar to drink, socialise, eat, flirt, unwind. Rarley for a esoteric discussion on whether ale should be pasturised etc...

Anonymous said...

I claim a victory for craft beer and real ale drinkers now that this thread has deteriorated into stereotypical, outdated insults against people because they have different tastes :)

Where's the honest grub troll when you need them!

honest grub troll said...

here!

jwhpage said...

We popped in last night for a drink before heading over to the Mess for the opening and then back to Mopho for dinner. Great night in Brockley. I can't complain. I'm sure they'll get better and better as you can't nail everything at the start with an ambitious venture like that. We will definitely be going again and spreading the word.

Anonymous said...

'Ale, after all, is best enjoyed in the inglenook after a long day at the Grouse, with the Mail crossword. mmmm.'

And F*ck you too.

Anonymous said...

Damn! I've been caught on camera smiling at my husband. It does look fab in there though and the beer was tasty.

Tania

NAT said...

You're an advert for happy Gantry coupledom there Tania.

22:21 Calm down.

Winners Dinner said...

I have a mixed review.

The entry via the front of the building actually meant that we couldn't get to the bar due to a lazy-arsed geezer blocking the way.

When we finally made it to the bar and ordered a bottle of wine the staff seemed to insist on serving us at a table downstairs. (I know this ploy. I explained to her indoors that this meant 20% on top for service. She falls for it all the time.)

The bar looked terrific, but small. Clearly the new owners had spent some time and money on this refurb - and ended up with a transformation that raises the bar in Brockley. (Pun unintended.)

Downstairs has three rooms to choose from, the kitchen having been introduced into one of the former rooms. All our utterly fabulous.

The powder rooms smelt of talcum powder rather than the usual pissoirs one is accustomed to.

The wine was excellent. We paid £22 for it though. I was though a bit put out when the barmaid turned up with another 'suggestion' when we had finished the 'first' bottle?

The food I sampled was the pork belly which was hugely overpriced tapas - of three small pieces - but the sauce was a bonus.

Huge hope for this place, though. Great staff. Great owner. Great venue.

Anonymous said...

Great night in the Gantry last night, love the place. Staff are cool and friendly.

Anonymous said...

Deserve a complimentary bottle for the advertising.

Anonymous said...

Went in yesterday and had a similarly mixed experience. Entering by the front patio feels odd (though I can't put my finger on why), but the space inside is nicely done and the whole place has been renovated well (didn't see the garden though).

Food looked good, but didn't have any or see the prices. Beers were disappointing, there is an ale - a bottle of Spitfire (at £4?), they are clearly tied into SN in some way, with Asahi and Samuel Adams. The bar staff were friendly but absolutely clueless, neither of the people serving us beer had a clue how to pour a pint and were blaming the equipment!

Football was on the screen, which is great to have somewhere in Brockley with a screen, but I can't see it ever being a place to go and watch as the bar is so small that the place will be packed out for any big games.

Keen to go back to try the food, but dont think I'll ever be a regular.

Mezzer said...

Shame. 4.00 a pint in one case and being served 2/3 pint glasses in the other at even more? Got my back up right away.

Anonymous said...

Because the food hasn't started properly everyone is focusing on the bar. It will never be a place for a proper session, restaurants/cafes with a small bar are not usually known for their low prices. Let it settle in, suspect the food will be the decider.

Anonymous said...

would love to see ale too but if there isnt a cellar to keep the ale cool in (which the gantry and the orchard both dont have)then it is very difficult/impossible to store and serve it properly within the shelf life of the 'live' beer.

terrencetrenderby said...

go and drink the cheap ale in spoons you miserable bastards

FrFintonStack said...

Cask ales *do* take up more space than keg beers, because you have to keep several barrels in stock simultaneously. You need to tap them, then allow them to sit for several days to condition and to allow the yeast to settle before you can start selling them. Once tapped, they can't be moved or the yeast will be disturbed. You then have three days or so (depending on the weather an the strength of the beer) to get through a cask before it goes off. And you need a proper, underground cellar (ideally temperature controlled) or cold room. Very simply, it takes skill and space to serve cask ale, and it also requires a minimum turnover, otherwise you'll be dealing with large amounts of wastage and/or vinegary, flat beer. I'd love to see cask ales, but bearing in mind the nature of the space, I always thought it was unlikely.

All that said, there are brewers like BrewDog, Thornbridge and Summerwine who are doing excellent ales in kegs, where you face none of those problems, and a decent bottled selection isn't hard. It's no exaggeration to say that Kernel, based a couple of miles away in Bermondsey, is one of the best-regarded breweries in world amongst beer affectionados. It's a real shame their stuff isn't on offer.

Mezzer said...

terrencetrenderby said...
go and drink the cheap ale in spoons you miserable bastards

Well, it certainly seems elitist. As does your comment.

Anonymous said...

Obviously they can't have kegs of ale their, but a decent selection of bottled ale isn't hard.

Anonymous said...

Tip for the owners: Thornbridge beers are excellent, and you can serve these ones from a normal tap with normal cooling equipment and no fears of upsetting the yeast or having to sell it within a limited timeframe.

http://www.thornbridgebrewery.co.uk/thornbridge-keg-beer.php

Simon@Geddes said...

The Gantry looks fantastic and having read many of the comments on this thread,it seems - like most new businesses - it's going to need a little bit of time to bed in.
I note a few people are little put out that there isn't much of a choice re real ale. Unfortunately very few businesses can be all things to all people and I imagine the owners of the Gantry already have an idea of their target market - it may not be real ale drinkers?
Having a group of guys at the bar throwing pints down their necks may not be part of their vision. It seems from the look of the place that they are aiming for more of a wine bar feel and clientele rather than a pub crowd.
I enjoy a pint of real ale and I mainly drink Guinness but I'm quite happy to drink something else if either of those aren't available. If I was going to go out for a cheap pint or wanted to drink real ale I'd probably go elsewhere.
I think it would be a real shame if one bar did everything as it would probably put places like Mr Lawrence and others out of business.
Let's just be thankful we now have more choice in where we eat and drink locally. The Gantry deserves to do well and good luck to them.

Jennifer said...

Had a quick drink there last night (Asahi, £3.90 for a pint). We were told that they are in the process of choosing their ales, so all is not lost. Having said that, there was mention of "the company we get our drinks from", so does that mean they won't have free rein in their choice? I know nothing about stocking bars, but no doubt someone else will.

The Sam Adams wasn't on last night and the only other ale on offer was a single bottle of Spitfire, so I guess that a lot of ale drinkers have been in since they opened.

Anonymous said...

@Jennifer - thanks for that info, sadly I feared the comment about "the company they get their drinks from". Shepherd Neame are not quite what I think some of the ale drinkers want, but it is at least a step in the right direction...

@Simon - your view of the "guys at the bar throwing pints down their necks" is odd. Which of these phrases have you heard before "ale lout" or "lager lout"? You can serve ale without the place becoming "not in their vision". It's not like one or two ales is going to make it a magnet to ale drinkers, it will just be not unwelcoming to ale drinkers. There are enough pubs that manage to serve good ales and food without being not in their vision. Some of them even have Michelin stars and I'd guess The Gantry wouldn't complain about that crowd or recognition?

Anonymous said...

There seem to be rather a lot of comments about Ale here and some contributors are clearly enthusiasts.

Arguing that a new bar such as the Gantry, which clearly does not have much space, should indulge their aspirations for a Ale supping perfection seems a bit silly.

They concentrated on building a decent kitchen, not a beer cellar.

It is the menu and the food that will make this place, it is a bar/restaurant, not a big pub.

For that sort of pub experience, you don't have to go far.

Fattyfattybumbum said...

Bloody hell - if you all really want real ale in the Gantry THAT much just go in and ask them to start stocking it! Don't just write the place off and say 'well now I wont be a regular'.

Its only just opened and is a family run place so I am sure the owner would be more than happy to hear what the customer wants - so go tell 'em. Scheesch!

Anonymous said...

How about more pub fayre?

terrencetrenderby said...

spoons sells honest pub fayre, and no cords or boat shoes in sight

Anonymous said...

Perhaps there is something about the statement 'it is not a pub' that you do not understand?

Go to Barge, look around you and try to spot the difference.

Anonymous said...

The Barge is a restaurant.

Anonymous said...

Ask anyone in the street where to find a restaurant called the Brockley Barge and they will look at you as if you are daft.

They would not be wrong.

Anonymous said...

It's not about ale specifically so much as offering an interesting beer or two. A keg of Thorntons or Brewdog would be a definite draw - for me and others, clearly - but there's not much excuse for no decent bottled beer. Even if the focus is food, it seems self-defeating not to tap into a growing appetite for decent beer.

Anonymous said...

The Barge is a restaurant. It has numbered tables, a mains and a deserts menu. It serves food and decent fare. It is a restaurant.

Simon@Geddes said...

@Anon 12.21 - Point taken, but my intention was not to be disparaging to real ale drinkers nor was I labelling them alongside lager louts.
If the place doesn't sell a decent choice of real ales then perhaps it's not the place for people whose priority is a choice of real ales.
If they do decide that it makes business sense to stock the above then great,but let's not write the place of before they've had a chance to find their feet.
Sometimes it's nice to try a different drink don't you think?

Anonymous said...

If the Barge is a restaurant, then I do hope you will leave them a generous tip for the fine food and service they offer.

They deserve something for taking it out of a freezer and bunging it in a microwave and conveying it to your numbered table.

Hopefully, your pleasure will be so complete, you will never have to grace the portals of any other establishment.

JDWetherspoon said...

The Barge is part of a chain of 'J D Wetherspoon Award Winning pubs' offering the same menu in many different venues

http://www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk/

part of our High Street

FintonStack said...

Anonymous anonymous said...

"It's not about ale specifically so much as offering an interesting beer or two. A keg of Thorntons or Brewdog would be a definite draw - for me and others, clearly - but there's not much excuse for no decent bottled beer. Even if the focus is food, it seems self-defeating not to tap into a growing appetite for decent beer."

Bingo.


Simon@Geddes said...

"Sometimes it's nice to try a different drink don't you think?"

Patronising, much? Of course trying new drinks is nice. Less so to try a blander, ersatz, already widely-available version of what you usually drink. It's a bit like asking a wine fan why they won't try some Jacob's Creek. These aren't fancy imported beers: they're licensed-brewed lager, made down the road in Kent; I don't imagine they're a new experience for many people, nor do I imagine as many people would be as disappointed if they were selling a decent range of continental lagers or American craft beers. (As I say, I never expected them to be able to serve cask ales, considering the nature of the space.) I think you might also be surprised at how familiar beer affectionados are with other types of drinks.

Now of course, they're entitled to sell whatever range of drinks they like, and they ought to do so on a hard-headed business of what will. But the approach seems very behind the trend: good beer is becoming more popular (even cool/hip/whatever), and is appealing to a much wider group of people than previously: exactly the kind of people I would expect to form the core clientele of a place like this. I think the volume of people expressing disappointment that they're beer selection isn't a bit more interesting is, in itself, proof of where the money is. find elsehwere

Anonymous said...

@FintonStack and Anons at 22.08 and 12.21

Absolutely spot on.

Anonymous said...

Nice atmosphere and staff, and food not too expensive. The fish was really well cooked and tasty. However, the portions could do with being quite a lot bigger, or alternatively they could be accompanied by bread or chips or some sort of carbs. My friend and I are both small women and left feeling quite hungry. Needed toast when we got home.

Mb said...

JD Wetherspoons is a restaurant in the same way as Dolmio is pasta sauce. There are better alternatives but if that satisfies you then good luck.

Winners Dinner said...

I recommended it to friends, who did not enjoy the food as I did.

They were also not happy when they saw a guy in jeans, scruffy t-shirt and with long, uncovered, hair in the kitchen.

Was he the chef?

If so, it's important to get such things right as I don't think street clothes should ever be worn in a restaurant kitchen.

Mezzer said...

You only need look at The Orchard to see how to do it and what you maybe could do to provide an alternate but complementary establishment. Folks will always make the comparison between the two of course and so far, it’s far too exclusive. Too expensive and too uptight. I can’t bear the idea of asking for Sam Adams and being told I can only have it in 2/3 pint glass and pay the earth for the privilege.

amandee said...

i was sceptical but the Sam Adams is lovely.

Anonymous said...

Re. the Ale.. I don't think anybody has been asking for 4/5 different ales to choose from, simply one or two. It's not hard to have 1 or 2 lagers and 1 or 2 ales so as to cater for everyones taste.

Good to hear that they are looking to bring some in.

NAT said...

Ale and Fish! Ech.

Anonymous said...

Do they have a phone number?

Anonymous said...

Another plea for a phone number for The Gantry... does anyone know what it is? Thanks!

Graham said...

It's 020 8469 0043 or chitchat@thegantry.co.uk

Lady in the Well said...

Had a lovely mean in the Gantry last night, my only comment is that the portion was was slightly on the small side. Other than that no complaints at all. Great food, wine, decor, service and atmosphere.

Simon and Olivia @Geddes said...

We went to the Gantry yesterday afternoon and stayed through until the evening. The place has been absolutely transformed but the refit has been sympathetic to the layout of the building.
We had great food and a couple of nice bottles of wine. The staff were attentive and friendly and the atmosphere pleasant.
We spoke to one of the owners about the limited choice of keg beers and he said that this was due to being tight for space at the bar. He also said they were finding storing surplus kegs a real problem so I guess there's your answer.
We're sure the Gantry will be a huge success - they had already done 110 covers by the afternoon - and we wish them all the very best.

Manor Club Tim said...

5 of us ate there for lunch on Saturday. I am still working out what exactly I thought of the place, but I couldn't help feeling a tiny bit disappointed. Not outraged, or disgusted, just a little underwhelmed.

Firstly, the good things: the garden is just as pleasant as it used to be in TM2 days, probably more so. The tables are well spaced and attractive. The interior is smart and decently decorated, if a little "chain pub" in places (olive green paint, wooden prints of herbs and spices... this is Brockley and there is plenty of good quality affordable art out there, especially this coming weekend).

The service is friendly, the atmosphere a professional contrast to the greasy, amateurish, but endearing, old days of the Toad's Mouth.

We had three courses with wine. No disasters - avocado and crab salad was nice enough although my wife's avocado was a little hard. Broccoli quiche had a good crispy base and cheesy flavour but was a little on the small side. Chips were crispy but a little on the fat side. Butternut squash risotto was authentically sloppy, a little bland and completely out of season. I'll come back to the burger in a minute.

The puddings, especially chocolate fondant and banoffee cheesecake, were fantastic. The pastry chef is apparently still in training. Maybe that means she works doubly hard - certainly this was the best course of the meal.

The prices are reasonable, if a little erratic. It is refreshing to see wine by the carafe.

The disappointment for me was in the sameness. I wanted to love the restaurant, but I kept coming back to the fact that the food I weas eating could have been served up in a very similar way at the Orchard, the Brockley Mess, and above all Jam Circus. If someone had told me the Gantry was a new downtown branch of that Crofton Park landmark, designed by the people from the Orchard, I would have readily believed it. The menu was classic good honest Brockley ("mung") fare of indeterminate nationality.

The owner is French. In my view the restaurant is not French enough. Brockley is served by an excellent if sometimes overpriced Italian (Le Querce), a great Turkish (Meze Mangal), a poncy but decent Indian (Babur), a tatty but endearing Thai (Smiles) and a pub, sadly on its way out, that is slow but has moments of mild greatness in modern Franco-British cuisine (the Talbot). We really lack a good French restaurant. We are over-provided by trendy-ish brunchy restaurants serving Anglo-mediterranean bits and bobs.

Degustation shows how French can be done well and successfully in Brockley. It is unashamedly Gallic yet stocks English sparkling wine, Italian olives and Portuguese custard tarts. The Gantry could so easily serve a plate of quality charcuterie for starter, or a good terrine, and a fine cheeseboard just by popping round the corner.

This is a French restaurant yet there was no basket of bread provided. No fatty, porky salad with odd indeterminate bits of duck gizzard scattered over it. They served duck confit...but in a sandwich. There was no steak frites - that would be such an easy winner, and it could be a cheap cut like bavette. Think of what a decent French restaurant could give us from cheap ingredients for not much money - proper fishy Bouillabaisse, Pot au Feu, Coq au Vin, Alsace Choucroute, Oeufs en Meurette...

The burger summed it up for me. It was well (i.e. over) cooked, dry and lean, seasoned with a few herbs and not unpleasant but altogether very Jam Circus. The French can do burgers: steak hache, cooked rare and juicy even in the dodgiest outlet of L'Arche or Autogrill, with McDonalds-thin fries, or steak chopped as tartare. This really could have benefited from a bit more Frenchness.

So I will be back becaue the Gantry has a lovely garden and a nice atmosphere, but I would love to see it striving to achieve in its savoury food the same level it reached with the Banoffee cheesecake.

Anonymous said...

Interesting review.

Anonymous said...

When the Dartmouth Arms in Forest Hill opened it had a very interesting menu.

However, it has now reverted to something a lot more mundane - apparently due to the limited market for things like razor clams. The food is still good, but like many other pubs a bit samey - a policy which looks unlikely to change until the clientele in SE London improves further.

Brockley Nick said...

@MCT - interesting comments and I see where you are coming from, but it seems to be hung on the idea that this is a French restaurant. It isn't. One of the owners is French. The other isn't. Here's what they said it would be:

"It will be a neighbourhood restaurant – simple and delicious rather than over-ambitious. It will have a strong French influence but we will be serving a range of cuisines, including British. Our influences are mainly French restaurants, but an example of the kind of atmosphere we’re hoping to create would be Pizza East in Shoreditch. The décor will combine Victorian features with natural wood."

It sounds as though they have been pretty true to their ambitions. Yes, it would be nice to have a full-on French restaurant in the area. Ditto Spanish, Japanese, etc, etc. But we should judge this on its own terms. It's raised the bar again for local options. Hooray.

Tressilliana said...

Their website's up and running now but doesn't have menus yet.

http://www.thegantry.co.uk/index.html

Simon and Olivia @Geddes said...

@Anon - We have recently eaten at the Dartmouth Arms on a couple of occasions and we've found the food to be excellent. The menu is fine and what we'd expect of a pub/restaurant in that location.
@MCT-The Gantry's food fulfilled our expectations and the decor and atmosphere exceeded them.
I know it would be nice if they'd chosen to display local artist's work on their walls but I'm sure they had other things to concern themselves with. My bet is The Gantry will be a huge success.

Anonymous said...

The Dartmouth serve good food I agree, last time we ate there however we ended up stinking of the smell of the kitchen, I appreciate they have a big extractor but it didn't seem to do its job. This kind of thing really affects whether we use a place regularly

Blunderbuss said...

Went here for the first time over the weekend. We were in the upstairs bar, which had been really nicely refurbed. As everyone has mentioned, the beers are not the greatest but they were knocking out cocktails for a £5 and I had a really nice Sidecar.

Unfortunately then I ordered a burger. It was small, overcooked, underseasoned, with no garnish other than a few strips of grilled peppers, in short very poor and for £8.50 you really expect something a lot better. Come on, burgers aren't that difficult to do well and with the explosion of burger places in the last few years like Lucky Chip, Meat Easy, Mother Flippers etc they really should be doing better. The spoons next door does a 'gourmet burger' and a drink for £6.50 and is easily twice as good and works out at half the price. We also ordered a fairly plain pasta dish as well.

Summing up, nice place for a drink, food needs major work.

TM said...

MCT not sure why you think the Talbot is "on its way out?"

If you want Bavette Steak and chips they do it for £6 most lunchtimes. Good value it is too.

theoldtrawlerman said...

I've been in a couple of times and eaten once. The food was good, not outstanding but not overly priced either. I think it's a fantastic addition to the area. The best thing, in my opinion, is that there is now a viable alternative to The Orchard. I've eaten in The Orchard about 10 times in the last year, and every time, save for a couple of Sunday lunches they have messed something up. The service is appalling, the bill is often wrong, you frequently have to wait for ages to get served and the food has definitely gone downhill, as well as being over priced. Can't wait until The Gantry really gets up and running. Good luck!

Nat said...

You've eaten in the Orchard 10 times and every time they have messed something up!

Why are you still going there then!? Bizarre...

kolp said...

The food is often incidental in certain places around here. People go to meet up with friends etc and or to be seen- new haircut.

The classic to see and to be seen. That's I mention hipster, If a place is full of hipsters it's generally not going to be a good feed.

(Go on BC lambast me! for speaking the truth as I experience it)

Mb said...

Eh? Who "goes to be seen" anywhere in SE4? People go to a place because they like its food and/or it's ambiance, friendliness, convinience, price etc, etc... All qualities of a cafe or a bar and neither have any ethical, moral or other value unless you have a particular chip on your shoulder.

Go or don't go. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

It's a bit all fur coat and no knickers at the minute.
The place looks fantastic, but sadly I agree the food needs major work.

I barely touched mine as it was several kinds of unpleasant. So disappointing. The waiter didn't ask why I'd only eaten two spoonfuls - perhaps he thought I was a gastric band patient, but perhaps he already knew.

But will definitely go back for drinks to lurk outside and show off my hipster haircut and hipster ladies moustache, and really hope to hear soon that the food is consistently amazing, (or at least pleasant).

Anonymous said...

Well it's interesting that there has been no mention so far of one of Brockley's biggest betes noir - pushchairs/prams/screechy children.
Are we to assume that the Gantry is refreshingly child-free so far?

Anonymous said...

Really liking The Gantry, but went there a few nights ago and it was closed. No poster on the window explaining why, no nothing. If they're going to shut randomly then an explanation or apology would be good. We ended up going to The Orchard instead!

GantryLover said...

Mezzer didn't like it from day one because of the prices. If you find it too pricey that;s fine but don't try and dress that up in psychobabble about exclusivity.

As Westsider says, this is a wicked place - we are very lucky to have it.

Anonymous said...

I am sure the Morris Dancing tendency will find a better place to sup Badgers Tadger or whatever ale floats their boat.

The Gantry is more focused on Brockleys wine swiggers.

kiki said...

hi all, been quite a few times at the Gantry, i really quite like it, really don't understand how people can say the staff were horrible, well you might went somewhere else or maybe drunk..
quite like the place

Elisabeth said...

hi all

Went to The Gantry on Saturday....yeahhhhh...finally somewhere close with good food, friendy staff and a great welcome!! my food was just really nice and they were ok with my allergy and accomodated me.....
Yes, you have to book it in advance to get a table but i would say weldone it means it's busy and they are doing well! which is a lovely news now a days! The best of luck to all at the Gantry!.... We will come back next time for their new breakfast on a weekend! it looks yummy
Elisabeth

mb said...

had my first proper sit down lunch. Had the parmigiana, really good. The bread was a bit ordinary and I would have prefered plain salted butter than the herby stuff but otherwise a thumbs up. And the little rooms etc downstairs carried over from the TM2 have been cleaned up and retained.

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