The Ravensbourne Arms on Lewisham High Street used to be The Coach and Horses; a cavern of a pub draped with St George’s flags and banners advertising Sky Sports. Then, last year, the Antic chain took it over, installed real ales, tasteful wallpaper and shabby chic furniture and later opened a kitchen advertising hearty grub.
We opted for the scotch beef burger, which came without any pink bits in the middle but still succulent – to the point where we needed to nip to the loo to wash off all the glorious juice that had dribbled down our fingers (and faces. You really can’t take us anywhere). The burger comes with beer battered onion rings and hand cut chips, but we still ordered more of these as sides. The chips are properly thick and fluffy and the onion rings are crisp and tangy when hot, but do go a bit soft and greasy as they start to cool down.
The oven baked salmon flaked easily beneath the fork and came with green bean, olive, boiled egg and mixed leaf salad in what was probably the most solid dish in the order (perhaps there’d have been more to comment on with some of the other salads: dry cured Barbary duck breast with black cherry dressing or parma ham, mixed peach and buffalo mozzarella with sherry vinegar dressing). But the simple camembert with bloomer is what had us talking: a generous cheese with a bakery-worth of soft but chewy white bread, crust scattered with seeds. Good ingredients treated well: it could be the pub’s motto.
A word on the meal sizes, too. We didn’t need the extra side orders and had no room for pudding because the mains are on the hearty side. You could easily get the camembert as a sharing platter. But if you find yourself defeated by your meal, we’re sure the pub’s incredibly friendly cat Nala will offer to help you out.
Ravensbourne Arms, 323 Lewisham High Street, SE13 6NR. A meal for three including beer was £40. The pub also features in our ebook Londonist Book Of London Pub Crawls, for less than the price of a pint.