Make A Beeline For This Blackheath Restaurant

Copper + Ink ★★★★★

Make A Beeline For This Blackheath Restaurant Copper + Ink 5

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The Copper + Ink quail trifecta: meat, egg and jus. Photo by Lydia Manch.

We're feeling intrepid about this evening in Blackheath, mostly because it involves a train to get there and — thanks to a Hammersmith childhood — we still equate not being on a tube line with exotic, farflung lands.

It feels less exotic when a 12-minute train ride from London Bridge brings us right to the doorstep of our dinner plans. Mock our zone 2 snootiness, sure, but we can't be the only people with an inaccurate but kneejerk 'God that's far' reaction to Blackheath Village. The evidence is right there in the fact we — and some walk-ins on the night — can actually get a table on a Friday without a two month wait. (Albeit the place is pretty crowded by 8ish, so walk-ins are playing a high-risk game.)  

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Because Copper + Ink is very, very good, and the fact that Blackheath Villagers are mostly getting the run of the place for now — loyal, local custom makes up the majority of their traffic — is something that they are getting away with at our non-local expense.

It's a nice place. Not just... you know, pleasant, affable, but actively nice in a myriad of ways: nice to look at, all glowing light and sleek wood, spacious upstairs and cosy, rowdy downstairs. Ingredients are sourced painstakingly, seasonally — and often hyperlocally, with even the woodchips in the smoker salvaged from Blackheath trees.

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And being non-central is also helping them keep it at price-points that feel improbably good value for food this thoughtful, intricate and delicious. The tasting menus change monthly, and entirely, but our visit delivered up modern British dazzler after dazzler: among them a wild mushroom paté starter that manages to let each ingredient and every effort that's gone into the plate — sauteeing, pickling, paté-ing, toasting — still sing out separately in the finished dish.

The vegetarian tasting menu actually edges out even the meaty beauty of the quail — a roasted/confit breast/leg egg/jus affair, rich-but-delicate comfort food luxe — with a crusty, flaky vegetable pithivier, and a caramelised carrot-peach-lovage-whey salad that both deserve to be anybody's first choice, meat-eater or no.

It's easy to see why this place is so popular with Blackheath Villagers. We're just not sure they'll have it to themselves for long. Because easy though it turns out to be, getting here from central London, we'd travel five times as far for these mushrooms, or that pithivier.

The five-course standard tasting menu and vegetarian tasting menu are £40, with wine pairings available for £30. Copper + Ink, 5 Lee Road, SE3 9RQ.

Last Updated 08 November 2019