I have walked past the Garrison pub on Bermondsy street a few times and always said to myself that it looks good and should try it out sometime. My sister who works around the corner recently went for a work breakfast there and raved about the food and the lovely staff, so we decided to go for brunch on a saturday.
We turned up at midday and had missed the breakfast menu, which was fine, but on entering the pub we went to a table ( there was no reservation on the table) and were asked immediately by a waitress whether we had booked a table. We hadn’t, but thinking it was a pub, and also only midday assumed we wouldn’t have to, oh how wrong we were. She told us that all the tables were reserved, but would see what she could do. In this day and age what pub, restaurant or cafe reserves out all its tables, what happened to accommodating passing trade! Also, can you really call yourself a pub if your main focus is food and therefore table reservations are necessary???
A table was found, but we were told that we would have to leave by 2.30 as it was reserved from then…… I was starting to feel very unwelcome. The staff, of which there were many ( too many for the size of the room!) were wandering around and chatting and none of them seemed the least bit concerned with taking our drink order! Finally someone did, and at that point we actually considered leaving as we felt unwelcome and almost an inconvenience to the staff. We however decided to stay as it was getting on to 12.30 and I didn’t fancy the mass crowds of borough market.
The ‘pub’ is very cute inside, a small space, with wooden tables, some made to look old and generally going for that modern vintage look so many places try for. This place was definitely not a pub though, even if it did have draught pumps, it is more of a relaxed restaurant, high-end cafe!
The food ( our order taken dead on 12.30 which was when the kitchen opened for lunch) was its saving grace! The menu small but varied enough that if you went regularly you wouldn’t get too bored. The food was simple but imaginative. As we were looking for something fairly light we went with the Billingsgate fish finger sandwich, which in the end was huge – door stop bread slices, chunky hand-made fish fingers and a good handful of rocket. Ordering the chips as well was food overload, but again, hand-made, and sprinkled with paprika to add a slightly different touch to something so familiar. Price wise it wasnt too bad, about £10ish per person, plus drinks. Some of the bigger meals on the menu were heading towards the £20 per person mark, but in that area of London I wouldn’t expect anything else. http://www.thegarrison.co.uk/#
Throughout our time in the Garrison pub, the staff seemed disinterested, and several people walked in from the street looking for food or just a drink, to be told that they had no tables, or they could have a table but would have to leave by a certain time, which as a customer is off-putting! Although the food was lovely, the staff and they way the place is run is off-putting and I will certainly struggle to recommend it or even go again as I hate bad service!! If you don’t mind disinterested staff and you book a table then its worth going to try the food if you are in that part of London, but I certainly wont be rushing back……