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The Honor Oak is located in London’s up-and-coming Forest Hill area. If you haven’t heard of this locale it’s most likely because it’s not the best connected of London areas, with only a train line and a couple of bus routes serving it. Despite this, we at Vada Magazine managed to arrive in one piece after a long day in the city. Given the transport-lacking locale we didn’t have exceptionally high expectations, and after our long journey we were in need of a drink. We were, however, pleasantly surprised to find The Honor Oak welcoming and were seated straight away, only moments away from a glass of red.
We were very pleasantly surprised to see a Saint Emilion 2007/9 (£31) on the drinks menu – our red of choice. We also noted the range of bubbles includes Prosecco, Champagnes and English sparkling wine (which is a patriotic choice we always like to see, especially as the quality of English wine is now becoming sufficient to rival the great Champagne houses of France). One quibble we did notice with the restaurant area, was that some of the glasses on the tables hadn’t been particularly well washed. We also would have preferred linen napkins to the disposable paper ones provided.
However, as we were hungry, intrigued by the food menu and the pleasantries of the waiter, we soon chose our starters in the forms of asparagus with goats cheese brûlée (£6.50) and devilled scallops with Monmouthshire ham and pee purée (£9). The brûlée was creamily moreish and a beautiful combination with the asparagus – the large portion was an added bonus. Equally, the scallops were well cooked i.e. only just hot inside yet crispy on the outside, pairing exquisitely with the pea purée.
For our main courses, we chose, on advice from our (now trusted) waiter, the butter-roasted Monkfish stuffed with scallop and sun-dried tomato mousse, wrapped in Parma ham served with olive potato (mashed potato made with olive oil) and a gargantuan portion of sautéed spinach all drizzled with a red wine sauce (£17.95). We also opted for the 8oz (Aberdeen Angus) fillet steak with roast tomato, portobello mushroom, onion rings and triple cooked chips and the wild mushroom sauce (£28). The monkfish was slightly overcooked, but overall the flavour combinations of the dish were novel and well-considered. The steak was seared perfectly on the outside, just blushing inside as requested, and the garlic-seasoned mushroom was also a hit.
Finally for dessert, after some epic portion sizes earlier, we managed to squeeze in an iced white chocolate and strawberry parfait, peppered strawberry fool (£6.50) and poached pear served with ginger ice cream and pear and ginger purée (£6.50). Poached pear is a beautifully British dessert, with the flavours enhanced by the hit of ginger. The parfait, whilst sweet, was cooling and we imagine very popular during the summer weekends.
Overall we thought that the recently refurbished Honor Oak demonstrated itself to be one of the better eateries in the area, although in a couple of areas slightly better attention to detail could be paid (linen napkins and making sure all the glassware is clean) to ensure this venue gets the recognition it deserves. The outdoor area (that we glanced) is vast for a pub of its size in London, so if you visit on a sunny day be sure to dine al fresco.
If you live in the Forest Hill area or if you’ve got time on your hands to navigate the public transport there (or just get an Uber) then we’d recommend the Honor Oak as our current watering hole of choice.
The Honor Oak is located at 1 Saint German’s Road, London, SE23 1RH and you can find out more about their bar and menu at thehonoroak.co.uk.