The Catford Bridge Tavern is a grand old pub that was sadly gutted by fire a while back. Six months ago, however, it had a grand Phoenix-like reopening after the community got together to ensure its safe future.
Being such a big pub you can sit and quite happily watch the football in one area, dine finely in another, sit in comfortable chairs reading or playing board games with friends and family in a quiet corner, or take in the fresh air on the large terrace, and all without your space being disturbed by another.
Myself and Nina were led by manager Catriona to a booth that offered views over the restaurant section, the open kitchen and the terrace, and she also handed us a gin and beer list.
Nina opted for the Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin with tonic, while I had a Langunitas IPA, a draught ale with plenty of taste.
The menu is kept short and to the point: a meat, a fish and a vegetarian option, with specials changing every week.
I like that idea as I am prone to getting bogged down when there are too many choices. We began with the Whitebait and Risotto Balls to share.
There is little to say about the little fish other than they were crunchy and fishy. Perfect. Plus, the crispy balls of parmesan, basil and rice worked well with the pesto.
Catriona told us how the Catford Bridge Tavern was resurrected from the ashes with help from the local council and people to become the community hub that it is now.
It looked like it was doing its job as there were families there (Father and son playing Backgammon), couples dining, and a few people watching Liverpool get the better of Leicester.
Our server Katie brought our main courses. Nina had the Aged Beef Burger that came with really excellent hand-cut, skin on French Fries.
The medium rare beef was right up her boulevard. I know that because all I could hear was the occasional ‘Hmmm’ as she got stuck into it.
She paired that with a robust Trashumante Garnacha, a Spanish red that ticked all the right boxes.
I had the Chicken with Black Cabbage and Brown and White Beans. I do love a good pulse and these were good pulses.
The chicken, though, was truly delicious; it was moist and fell away from the bone at the slightest touch, and went nicely with a citrussy Muscadet.
After all those chips and all those beans we were quite full so decided to defer dessert for a while and sat discussing the merits of the meal over our wines. ‘This red is delicious,’ said Nina before praising the beef, the fries and the salad dressing.
Some time passed before we felt ready to share the Chocolate Fondant with Salted Caramel Ice Cream.
The deferred gratification served us well as we both enjoyed it all the more. Everything about it was good, except that I lost the battle of the spoons – Nina beat me to most of the ice cream and caramel sauce! I need to up my game when it comes to sharing desserts.
Being right next to two stations, visiting The Catford Bridge Tavern was like finding a goldmine to us as we now know we can jump on a train and partake in their tempting midweek Steak Nights and two burgers for £12.50 Mondays.
Bringing this pub back to life was a good thing because it is a valuable asset to the community and all that use it.
The Catford Bridge Tavern, Station Approach, Catford, SE6 4RE Kitchen
Opening Times: Mon – Thur: 5pm – 10pm; Fri – Sat: 12pm – 10pm; Sun: 12pm – 9pm
0208 690 6759