The Gantry, Brockley Road

188 Brockley Road
020 8469 0043
www.thegantry.co.uk

French-inspired restaurant and bar The Gantry was an instant success when it opened in the summer, transforming a somewhat tired cafe (Toads Mouth Too) in to a wonderfully relaxed bar at at the front and a series of intimate dining spaces in the back. A collection of handsomely decorated rooms leads out in to the garden, the charm of which has been retained from its previous life.

We went last weekend as part of a group of seven, all of whom were pleased with the food. We had the mussels, which were the best we've ever tasted, served with authentically French fries and most of a bottle of Grenache Gris.

The vegetarian in the group felt spoiled for choice (which is rare in Brockley) and although there isn't a dedicated children's menu, there were plenty of options for them, and the staff were very attentive - at one point bringing a couple of stacks of printer paper for one of them to sit on as an improvised booster seat.

The banoffee cheesecake was the only slight disappointment, managing to be less than the sum of its parts. We managed to get our spoon on someone else's fondant, which oozed raspberry and more than compensated for our dessert.

The Gantry is warm and lovely and offers a true restaurant experience. It also has the best toilet in Brockley. Lit with 'natural sunlight'-effect lighting, it's a loo so pleasant we'd live there if it was socially acceptable.

93 comments:

Ed (CPZ) said...

Right, that's it. I am going this weekend!

Anonymous said...

I went recently and to be honest was a little disappointed. Everything was good, but there was something a bit disappointing/off about every dish.

Better than the Orchard, but not in the same league as Le Querce or Babur.

Osh said...

Love this place! It's my favourite brockley hangout.

Anonymous said...

It's a great place with lovely owners and staff.

Wendy said...

I agree with the positive review. Ive only eaten the bar food but that was great and I've always found the staff very friendly.

Anonymous said...

Popped in about four times and the garden has been shut every time, which has been bit disappointing. Not particularly nice sat out on the main road.

Anonymous said...

Been waiting a food review thanks for this.

My only disappointment was hearing they don't use the local wine suppliers who supply a couple of other local places and I think they used to supply TM2. Shame they've gone for a big company rather than support local(ish).

Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed it but the garden policy needs clarifying I think.

When can you use it for just a drink/coffee?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps they got a better deal from other suppliers? Who did they use? Why is it important? "Support local" shouldn't mean pay over the odds because of misguided loyalty. Hard enough running a restaurant without watching your spending.

Went last week, very pleasant.

Anonymous said...

Nick, you're being a bit harsh on the Toads Mouth. It was an uncomplicated place with good food at good prices. I for one wish it was still there. The garden was always accessible and the atmosphere was unpretentious, relaxed, and inviting to everyone. I can't put my finger on what it is but whenever I drive past there's something about it that seems a bit too clicky for my liking. but saying that I'll give it a go before I make a final judgement on it.

Anonymous said...

Was a bit Clapham public schoolboys when I last went. Preferred the Toads Mouth.

Brockley Nick said...

All I said was that the old place was somewhat tired, which I say because the menu never changed in five years and the managers were a little on the irascible side. Still, all moot, since the place is gone.

On the other hand, criticising somewhere you've not been because it looks a little cliquey as you drive past(!) is very harsh. It's nothing of the sort.

Westsider said...

ANYWAY. Let's keep this thread for actual reviews, shall we?

I'd like to say that I've been once and will definitely be going again.

I had a finely cut steak thing. Was v good.

Egan ronay said...

The TM2 was a little shabby last time I was there, the food was distinctly mediocre and actually not that cheap. The breakfast was overpriced for want was a standard fry Jo with a better than average sausage. It was fine but nothing special. The Gantry is better, a different offering sure but it's full. It's a harsh fact that very few places survive purely on the fact that they are "trendy" they may for a while but they are soon rumbled. It's an opinion but one that seems to be shared with a restaurant full of people every day. All secondary opinions are just background noise.

kirsty said...

I can only afford to eat out once every two months, tight budget so this review was really welcome.

Carys said...

I find this review quite surprising. I went once and there was only one vegetarian main - a butternut squash risotto. It's exactly the kind of easy weeknight dish I'd make - not what I expect when eating out.

The service was painfully slow - we waited 40 minutes for our mains and 30 for our desserts.

All the waiting meant I drank rather more wine than I'd planned, which was painfully expected. When I got home, I was tipsy enough to email them politely to say how disappointed I was. I never got a response.

Carys said...

^Painfully expensive.

I should add that I'm prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt, and will reserve judgement until I've been another time.

Hungry said...

I've also found it a little disappointing - everything reads well and looks nice, but just deosn't actually taste that great.

As a vegetarian, I find the comment about lack of Brockley catering for us odd: Babur has amazing options; La Querce does very deliciously; The Talbot has a number of options; ALL the meze bar one at Meze Mangal are vegi and tasty; I could go on....

Anonymous said...

Have been disappointed with the food options from The Gantry. The Orchard crushes them on every level - especially the breakfast / brunch menu. Love a decent Eggs Benedict. Miss TM2. Was a fab spot as an easy going weekend hangout.

Mb said...

So on the bright side, it's good that there are two restaurants pitched at a similar audience and can perhaps encourage them to both do better?

Thomas Crapper said...

i've been a couple of times and have been impressed each time. I had the merguez sausage wrap last time and loved it. Also agree about the loo, top notch.

Anonymous said...

absolutely love this place. Have eaten there a few times and the food, service and atmosphere have been excellent. Really welcome addition to the area.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Toads Mouth Too was 'tired' at all!

I felt it was friendly, homely, cosy and provided good quality food at a reasonable price.

I have yet to try The Gantry though.

Anonymous said...

How dear is the gantry for eg the mussels and fries plus pudding, please? Thank you (my fear is that it looks expensive.)

Brockley Nick said...

It's good value. Comparable in price to any other similar Brockley venue.

Ben H said...

Quite like having a beer by the road watching the world go by! Exactly what BC needed :@)

Anonymous said...

Do they do breakfasts?

Anonymous said...

Both The Gantry and the Orchard do breakfast now. The Gantry does three different types including a Nordic breakfast.

The food at both places is very good, hopefully they can cope with Brockleys notorious weekend breakfast rush.

Brockley could do with a third restaurant of the same standard.

Aricana said...

Another restaurant option would be great. If only La Lanterna (or watever it's called now) would sell up!

Winners Dinner said...

La Lanterna is reopening under its new title Villa Toscana.

Although it looks odd on the outside I was pleasantly surprised when I was given a tour of the place by the chef Morry, really nice chap.

They are hoping for word of mouth usage, so give them a chance.

Anonymous said...

I want to like the gantry and enjoyed our visit but that came to a crashing conclusion when the bill came. The price of drinks and wine was very high an I felt slightly cheated especially as a carafe is only two thirds of a bottle of wine

Welcome to 2012 said...

I'm very happy with this place. As great a restaurant / bar as The Orchard is a bar / restaurant.

Osh said...

Did the menu not have the prices on it Anon? If you don't look before you order you can't complain.

Brock Lesner said...

I went two months ago and thought the food was... ok. The service, however, was awful- I had to wait, literally, one hour before I got my drink, despite asking 5 times. To be fair, they gave it to me for free to recognise their error.

Ambience was excellent though and I'm sure that with the changing face of Brockley it will survive.



Osh said...

Two months ago it had barely opened! So they have got better. And they gave you your drink for free to make up for it but you're still bad-mouthing them for it on the review page! Jeez!

Anonymous said...

I am sure everyone would love to see an Italian restaurant open in Brockley. It would be a nice counter point to the Gantry and the Orchard.

If Villa Tosca does good wholesome Italian food for a local clientele, it will be a success.

Incidentally, by some quirk, I found Google has an old photo of what La Lanterna used to look like from the outside.

http://goo.gl/maps/sXIIY

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Went to The Gantry yesterday for breakfast and ordered the their English Breakfast.
Very disapointing.
1 egg , 2 pieces streaky bacon, 1 small sausage, 2 cherry tomotoes, small ramekin baked beans and a slice of toast all served on a cold plate!

Anonymous said...

So a full English then?

Anonymous said...

Yes. But i have had better!

Anonymous said...

I was at the Gantry last night for dinner. Great meal and service!

Anonymous said...

I've been 3 times to give it a fair chance. The refurb is good and the staff friendly if a bit shambolic. Unfortunately the food has been average to poor and the wine list is rubbish (no vintages on the list is a sure sign that a restaurant doesn't care about wine).

Still last time I went it was packed on a Tuesday night so they are obviously doing something right.

Spot the wine pseud said...

"Its a sure sign they dont care about wine" really? having chatted to the owner id say that was nonsense.

There does seem to be a feeding frenzy of people trying to out do each others disappointment. It's a great little local restaurant bar, it's busy all the time. If is truly poor it will fail, it isn't.

Brockley Nick said...

It's true that the owners care about wine and have put a lot of effort in to that side of things. I'm no wine expert, but as I say in the article, the bottle I had was excellent.

Brockley Ben said...

I've chatted to one of the managers about their wine too. They care a lot about it. It's a small list but a lot of thought has gone into it.

I was a bit disappointed by the full english too. Was expensive for a pretty moderate plateful. Good sausage, though.

But I have been a few times for a drink and have always had a great night. Still haven't sat down for a proper evening meal yet.

Anonymous said...

a list without vintages and producers makes choosing a bottle a complete lottery. Caring about wine is all well and good but you have to provide enough information to let people make an informed choice.

Pseud spotter said...

Oh get over yourself, it's hardly a disaster. Ask them if you must.

Anonymous said...

you mean ask them "could you let me know the producer and vintage of every wine you have?. Even better, could you write them down for me so I can study them at my leisure." You know that's a brilliant idea and it might just catch on.

Anonymous said...

THEE GANTRY IS PURE QUALITY - to say that they do not are about good wine is an insult. The place is a joy to be in, great food and extremely fun and friendly staff.

Anonymous said...

Villa Toscana opening on the 19th.

It would be nice to have a preview of the menu.

Good luck to them, and I hope they do a mean pizza.

Tamsin said...

There's an issue about keeping any printed list up-to-date. People would take it as a reason to complain if something was on the list but not available, and a substitute offered (however reasonable that substitute might be). Better that those who are prepared to take such things on trust do so, and enjoy the result, and those who have the knowledge to care, or want to appear that way, ask about it.

Anonymous said...

All wines above 6 quid a bottle are basically the same.

Anonymous said...

Well, that's nonsense but whatever.
I'm looking forward to a new place opening. There's plainly enough business to keep Gantry and Orchard open, which is great as I like them both! They're different styles, that's all. Hopefully the new place will continue this line of good local restaurants.

Anonymous said...

Is Villa Toscana really opening? Is it all a wind-up? (would love it to be true by the way...)

Anonymous said...

I miss TM2! Though it was clearly a bit like marmite. I loved it though. The Gantry is OK, but for me the food was nothing special (and I absolutely loved the food at TM2) and the clientele seemed a bit too 'new' (i.e. moneyed) Brockley for me. There wasn't another black person in there either when I last went in which just felt weird for Brockley.

Goggins said...

I never saw a black person in TM2. And if you're going to play the diversity card, try sounding a bit less prejudiced about "new Brockley". Funny how many comments there are about this. The clientele are basically the same as the Orchard. Maybe it's because the bar's a bit more visible from the main road.

Anonymous said...

Sounds as if the Gantry is a bit too posh for some folk.

Just as well there is the Barge nearby, which is very unchallenging in that respect.

I look forward to a Brockley where all tastes are catered for.

Anonymous said...

I was expecting that The Gantry would have tried to extend the restricted hours allowed for use of the garden. It seems to close early in the evening. I hope they can do this in time for next summer.

FrFintonStack said...

I'd been once before and quite liked it: had the Merguez sausage sandwich which fries, which was great value. I called in again last week at lunch time, and was presented with a dinner menu, where nothing was under £7.50 and no meat dish under £9. Thinking few people would pay that for lunch regularly, remembering my last visit, and noticing that a sign said breakfast was served 'til 3, I asked if there was another menu. "No", I was informed. So it seems they're either pricing themselves out of the lunch market, or two different members of staff (the one that gave us the dinner menu, the one that told us there wasn't another) didn't know what they were doing. Shame.

Anonymous said...

I don't get this thing about people who have money to spend being unwelcome. Do people want an atomised city where the poor live in one area and the "moneyed" live elsewhere? Mixed communities are to be encouraged, on a practical point, "moneyed" people spend localy and are able to pay concil tax and perhaps draw less from the council, so helping those who need to. all good. Gehtoisation is not something we should aspire too.

(By the way, the TM2 had some charm but it wasn't in the food)

Anonymous said...

'Perhaps draw less from the Council'??

How about, some people give lots to their local council whilst others take as much as they can for some reason believing it is their god given right to do so.

Higher prices is actually a good way to segregate which for many is seen as a good thing (as long as the product is also premium), keeps the low life spending their giro's elsewhere.

All this within one community is possible, horses for courses and all that.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps "some" do, it's that age ld myth that successive governments use. The poor are poor because they deserve it, if you claim benefits you are scrounging etc... Makes cutting seem like justice rather than kicking people when they are down.

My point stands, I'm on £60k a year and have no issue paying my tax (council or otherwise) I've also no issue with people claiming benefits. Yes, it's a right set up by a post war settlement. Ordinary people fought and died and didnt want to live in a pre war world where your life chances were simply a matter of luck.

Read the stats, benefit fraud is a tiny percentage of the total..

Also I re-iterate, the TM2 was quirky, fun but distinctly mediocre food wise. (In my view)

It isn't class war, it's a different restaurant.

Orwell said...

I really liked the TM2, and went there regularly for years - it had enough positives substantially to outweigh the negatives. The gratiutous grave-spitting in the original article is churlish, unpleasant, and irrelevant.

Bea said...

I’ve been three times now and enjoyed each occasion - most recently yesterday for lunch.

All the food I’ve eaten has been tasty and well presented. The prices a reasonable and no more than I’d pay for pub lunch in the countryside (and a lot less than the West End).

The place feels “clean” unlike TMT which IMO had a slightly grubby ambiance with wobbly tables, rickety chairs, student-style tablecloths and sticky surfaces. The ambiance in the Gantry is a huge improvement.

A great place to meet friends for drinks after work or have a lazy weekend brunch.

Winston smith said...

who's grave spitting? Some people preferred the TM2, other prefer the gantry. Are you saying that any less than shining review of either (especially the TM2) should be suppressed?

You of all people shouldn't re-write others opinions for your own socio political reasons. "He who controls the past, controls the future" and all that

Brockley Nick said...

"I really liked the TM2, and went there regularly for years - it had enough positives substantially to outweigh the negatives."

I quite liked TM2 and went there regularly for years too. I agree it had enough postitives to outweight the negatives. But the negatives were that it was somewhat tired in terms of the menu and service.

"The gratiutous grave-spitting in the original article is churlish, unpleasant, and irrelevant."

It was none of these things.

Timmy2wheels said...

To compare The Gantry to TM2 is pointless - apples and oranges - but I much prefer the new to the old. Have had two good meals there, both reasonably-priced. Service could be better at busy times.

TJ said...

Been 5 times - each time good food, friendly service and good wine. The place is neither pretentious, overpriced nor cliquely. The only negative i would give is a poor trio of deserts.

Long may The Gantry prosper here in Brockley

Ladywell1 said...

I went on Sunday - 4 adults, 2 children under 4 and a baby of 9 months.
The food was lovely - full English was different and interesting (Toulouse sausage), not at all greasy.
Staff were friendly and helpful.
Very child-friendly.
Owner came round to check on us a couple times while we were there, but not in an obtrusive way.
Toilets, decor, etc - very nice.
Highly recommended.

Down with muesli. said...

Small point, sausages and bacon are supposed to be fatty (or greasy I you must) it's one of the defining properties of a sausage.

Anonymous said...

The Gantry 1 Trolls 0

Orwell said...

@ Winston Smith

Yes, precisely.

Anonymous said...

see the below link, I think the owners of The Gantry could do with a few bottles! lol

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-54vNkO_YPyY/Tjdyg5cI3rI/AAAAAAAAAa4/A6enIzbGius/s640/troll+can.jpg

It was sad to see Michelle & the guys go at the Toads Mouth but I've been in the Gantry & the are going in the right direction! keep up the great work guys!

Anonymous said...

Mr mixed communities is quite funny, making it seem that you are encouraging 'diversity' only to comment on how much better the area would be with more 'moneyed' people. Don't pretend to play the mediator when you clearly only favour one type person in this area. Seems to me you are exactly the kind of people the earlier commenter was talking about

oryx said...

I was quite up for trying this place, went on their website and discovered the menu section told you nothing about the prices and food!

It did, however, tell you all about their staff and their favourite food, their quirks etc.

I'm sure you can imagine which would be more useful to potential customers.......

Anonymous said...

Given that it is a local restaurant, you might be better off going in and asking to see the menu.

Websites - new fangled nonsense.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't want to walk half an hour to this place just to look at a menu - if it has a website, surely it's not rocket science to add a pdf of the menu?

Odd how my posts on this thread keep getting deleted.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if any of the restaurants around here set much store in all that website malarkey.

Local business for local people, don'tcha know?

Its Brockley, not Silicon roundabout.

Anonymous said...

I am actually surprised to see people got served at TM2 I thought this was the reason they went out of buisness - awful place!!!

As for The Gantry - a wonderful atmospheric place for adults and children (during the day of course). The staff are lovely and the food is great. My new local hangout!

Sean H said...

Nice food, nice decor. Cleaner that TM2. However, my wife and friends went there last week and were very disappointed to be able to buy a £22 bottle of wine just before 11pm to then be turfed out 15 minutes later before it was finished. Hoping this is only a on-off incident

Anonymous said...

They don't seem to have gotten their act together with respect to the licensing.

Both The Gantry and The Orchard close too early in my opinion.

Ladywell1 said...

@Downwithmuseli
Fatty is not the same as greasy I think you'll find - fat imparts flavour appropriate to the meat, grease imparts the taste of grease. The inference was that the breakfast was not dripping in greasy a la Greasy Spoon

Anonymous said...

Had an excellent dinner here at the weekend. I was sceptical, my husband more enthusiastic as he had been for lunches. I was very pleasantly surprised; our food (modern British ie vaguely Italian, each of us with starters, main and pudding,) was all excellent, the service was prompt and knowledgeable and the transformation from Toad nothing short of magnificent.

Frankly, I was amazed to find food of this quality in SE4. It is a different offering from the Orchard - not to diminish the latter which we will continue to frequent - and we will be back asap.

Lastly, I had thought it sounded too expensive from the comments on this thread but, again, we were pleasantly surprised when the bill came.

It really is excellent.

St Margarets said...

The place looks lovely - they have done it up really well, but the food and the service was shocking when we went. Brockley deserves more than this - it makes me cross that this low standard is accepted. From here and the Orchard unfortunately.

Brockley belle said...

I have to say I had a different experience. Moules and fries, steak and chips, (not both for me i must stress!) both were really good, slightly pricey, but then not much more expensive than places, eg cafe rouge (which by the way have gone way down hill in recent times). Friendly staff. All in all pretty good. Nice to have somewhere like this on our doorstep.

Haz said...

We found the restaurant very child unfriendly. A "strap on" child seat provided was attached to a chair which was too light, enabling our child to push her chair over backwards, narrowly missing hitting her head on a stone floor. Either say that you do not cater for chidlren and do not provide child seats or provide proper ones. Won't be returning.

Paul Gadd said...

Good

BrockleyMumma said...

I think it's a great place - good quality food even though a bit pricey, affordable wine list, very friendly staff and I did find it child friendly enough

Peter Thornton said...

Those strap on child seats are actually designed for children to sit on though so I don't think they've done anything wrong.

teahound said...

I went in recently for the first time to have tea and coffee with my mum who has Alzheimer's. Mum was having difficulty with the bar stools upstairs and they were the only seats free. The manager was lovely. She came straight over and very kindly sat us downstairs, where mum managed fine. It can be quite stressful being out with mum sometimes as she can be unpredictable but the staff were so lovely they made our little outing very pleasant.

Marian said...

The Gantry is a breath of fresh air. We managed to get a table for two in the restaurant without a reservation. The staff were warm, friendly and very attentive. I really enjoyed my beautifully cooked steak and the chocolate fondant was obscenely delicious. The service and atmosphere was excellent.

Charles said...

It's a real shame this place has disappointed us on more than one occasion. The service for food was horrific, always left waiting for the menu initially for more than 20 minutes, food was cold once when it finally arrived, took them 20 minutes to get us the bill at the end, and all the time we were there we were ignored for drinks orders, etc. The staff didn't make eye contact, the manager was just chatting away to her friends like it was her living room.

For this kind of terrible service we'd have expected amazing food, but it was less than average... Having given it a number of chances, we are sticking to the Orchard.

Businesses like these forget it's the quiet couple in the corner that return week after week, which will keep them going in the long run...

Mervyn said...

Just reading back on some of these comments about The Gantry. I went there the day it opened and was really impressed with the style the decor and the service. Since then my friends and I have been there every Friday evening as our 'boys night out'. At our age it's great to have good food, good wine (Tom has a secret stash if you really are a wine connoisseur) and a good chat with like minded friends. We are a diverse bunch; TV presenter/ex pro football pundit, restaurant owner, business owners, media/entertainment/sport execs, hypnotist oh and did I mention we are all black. Big up Ali, Tom, Patrice, Schuie and the rest of The Gantry crew - a shining example of what we need mire of in Brockley.

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