It’s a simple but beautiful space is the Garden Cafe; it’s all large floor to ceiling windows, bare wooden chairs, concrete floors and white walls. It’s part of the Garden Museum housed in the church by Lambeth Palace (a short walk from Pharmacy2).
It’s the ideal, relaxed lunch time vibe on our Friday visit. And it’s packed. Our charming server, Joe, describes the concise menu with a passion for food that can’t be taught. It all feels like Rochelle Canteen.
We start with pheasant and turnip broth (£7.50). The turnip has been pickled giving the light and delicate broth a serious twang which is lovely. There’s some chilli heat in there too and masses of soft, squishy pheasant.
A beautiful burrata (£8) shows the kitchen’s dedication to sourcing spot-on ingredients. It comes with cime di rapa – a leafy green vegetable similar to broccoli. The whole thing is drenched in good quality olive oil which is never a bad thing.
Mains of bavette (£17.50) and brill (£18) are simple but perfect. The steak is thickly sliced yet it lacks the jaw aching chew you often find with that cut of meat. The brill is cooked expertly and comes with masses of team artichoke making it an unassumingly filling dish.
A side salad (£5) is piled high with the most beautifully coloured and vibrant leaves. I’m not usually a fan of radicchio’s bitterness but in the light mustard dressing and with the richness of the main dishes it’s wonderful.
Profiteroles (£5.50) are stuffed with vanilla ice cream and could only be bettered with a jug of warm chocolate sauce. Then again, everything is made better by chocolate.
Strudel with custard (£5.50) is sweet and sticky and a marvellous thing on a cold and blustery day. We could be in Austria it tastes that good.
Food like this is what I long for more and more these days; no trends nor cheffy wankery. They focus on quality ingredients cooked perfectly without fuss. The result is something quite special and worth travelling to Lambeth for.
Would we go back? Yes.
We dined as guests of the restaurant.