Kennington’s Theatre Pub Gets a Refurb – The White Bear:
South of the river, but not so far that you might catch a cold, The White Bear, Kennington is best known to me as a fringe theatre venue. It has a fabulous programme of shows, with tickets usually under £15. And, if you go along to the theatre, you get 10% off the food in the pub downstairs.
I’ve never been to the pub, despite the fact that it is about 5 minutes from home for me. So I was delighted to be invited along to review and invited a friend who lives locally along to join me. The menu looked promising – six starters, two sharing boards and a whole selection of classic main courses. However, things did get off to a slightly wobbly start when we found that two of the starters were not available. We ended up sharing the White Bear Board, a tapas type collection of dishes comprising meatball ragu, spicy wings, smoked mackerel, breaded brie, mushroom and tomato relish, vegetable crisps and sourdough with some extra olives.
A good option for friends, we both enjoyed the brie with a little of the relish and thought the spicy wings were pleasantly meaty and not overcooked. The meatball ragu was substantial and the meatballs themselves were chewy
Options for mains included pub classics like gammon, egg and chip, ale battered cod and chips and sausage and mash with bacon, cabbage and black pudding. There were more ‘foodie’ options on the menu, but after the lack of availability of two of the starters, we decided to stick with classics.
My friend ordered a black Angus sirloin with mushroom and tomatoes, chips and bearnaise and I chose the White Bear burger and fries. Both arrived nicely presented and well cooked with generous portions of crispy fries for me and of chunky chips for my companion.
For dessert, we shared a Bakewell tart, paired with raspberry sorbet and chantilly cream. An excellent flavour combination, the Bakewell tart had beautifully crisp pastry, but needed the cream and sorbet to support the filling which would have been a little dry by itself.
The pub has beer on tap and a comprehensive and well-priced wine list. We picked the Finca la Colonia Colleccion Malbec which at £28.50 was one of the more expensive options on the list. Most of the wines are offered by the glass too.
The restaurant takes up around 2/3rds of the ground floor space, with the front of the pub being reserved for drinking. It’s a large space and was rather quiet on the night we were there. But, I suspect the main trade is immediately before and after a show and at that time the atmosphere may be very different. There’s also an outside garden to the rear and a small terrace at the front. I’ll definitely be back in summer.
The White Bear
138 Kennington Park Road, SE11 4DJ