The Draft House / Bermondsey, London


…much more Pacific coast craft beer infused interpretation of gastropub.

It’s not too embarrassing to admit the only reason I wanted to go here over my usual Thursday night Bankside beer haunt is because of Jay Rayner’s glowing review the other week. Beer, booths and burgers is a combination I’ll always seek out.

The most surprising thing about the Draft House is just how bloody busy it is. It’s in that particularly dead bit of Tower Bridge Road, just over the bridge itself, that was previously home to a few shaky pubs, some takeaways and a generous helping of city folk living in gentrified warehouses. Not quite Bermondsey, too far down Tooley Street to be London Bridge and away from the after-dark madness of Bermondsey Street.

But despite that, it’s rammed full of the after work crowd. Maybe they’re members of Boris’ team nipping over the road, or maybe they’ve schlepped it over the bridge for a decent pint, since Tower Hill is completely devoid of anything resembling a decent public house.

Having gone through a few jars of Meteor from France and a New Zealand lager I can’t remember the name of, we managed to get one of the green apple coloured booths in the restaurant section. The combination of beer menu, food selection and general ambience immediately reminded us of San Francisco’s own Monk’s Kettle. The whole vibe is here is much less the typical London gastropub, much more Pacific coast craft beer infused interpretation of gastropub. For London, this is by no means a Bad Thing.

Being a burger guy, there was only one real option on this menu, which was this:

It’s a 10oz burger with smoked cheese and bacon. It came with some brilliantly crispy french fries and a sharp, silky home-made mayonnaise to dip them in. There are some very notable things about this burger, especially considering it’s from London and not San Francisco. The patty was confidently cooked and held itself together well. The various accompaniments were just right and most importantly of all there was absolutely no skimping on the cheese. It had a beautiful melt with just enough tang to compliment the patty.

The only minor disappointment was the brioche bun. It certainly looks the part: I’ve not come across a burger brioche this convincing on this side of the Atlantic. Unfortunately it was just a teeny bit past its best; not completely stale but certainly not fresh enough to compliment the other constituent parts of what is otherwise a superb sandwich. A liberal smothering of their excellent mayo helped soften it back up.

There are two other Draft Houses in other parts of South London I’ll never visit, so I’m really pleased to have one in Tower Bridge. Go here to eat and drink. The attention to detail is highly commendable and I’ll be back to try the celebrated pork belly as soon as I can feasibly get away with it. And they have Ghostbusters wallpaper.

Cheeseburger at the Draft House
The Draft House Pub on Urbanspoon

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