The Garrison is a pub-cum-restaurant on Bermondsey Street and it’s owned by the same people as Riding House CafÃ© and Village East. After a not-so-successful lunch at the latter, I was hoping the Garrison would be a good choice for a relaxing Sunday roast on Father’s Day – but sadly it wasn’t quite so.
It’s a really charming space with a bustling atmosphere which is helped by the fact the place is constantly busy. It’s all very reclaimed wooden tables, mis-matched chairs and random, old fashioned lamp shades.
As none of the starters tickled our pickles, we asked for some bread. Brown, thickly sliced and served with unsalted butter (eugh!) it didn’t get things off to a particularly exciting start; it was so dry and tasteless. Some olives (Â£3) were grimace-inducingly salty.
We opted for the roast leg of pork (Â£16) and the topside of beef (Â£17) and both were epically bad. The beef was so incredibly overcooked it lacked any moisture whatsoever – it was the driest thing I’ve ever eaten. Because of this, the slice was far too thick, meaning it was difficult to cut/swallow/stomach. The ‘roast’ potatoes were soggy and pale; they lacked the sort of colour you’d expect from being given a good roasting. Along with the watery veg, they also lacked any flavour and seasoning – not a single grain of salt or pepper had been used at all. And don’t get me started on the Yorkshire pudding – other than having a thick layer of greasy oil at the bottom, it looked limp and didn’t even taste as good as an Aunt Bessie frozen one.
My Dad spent most of his meal spitting out bits of gristle; the quality of the pork wasn’t up to much and its cooking wasn’t much better either – dry and underseasoned. There was far too much of it too. The layer of crackling that coated it was sticky and chewy – it lacked the desired crunch.
Now, I hate complaining in a restaurant – the very idea fills me with dread and makes me feel awfully uncomfortable. From past experience it never actually makes things better either – it just creates an awkward atmosphere. But the argument is you should give them the chance to rectify the problem, so on this occasion, I showed the manager our half eaten plates and complained. In return they offered us some desserts (which we declined) and they took our bottle of wine off the bill. But to be honest, I didn’t want a free bottle of plonk or a slice of cheesecake, I just wanted a tasty lunch, so I found the experience a tad pointless. I still left feeling miserable, starving hungry and safe in the knowledge that I’d never return to the Garrison.