Last night I went for dinner with my family in my local pub, The Chancery, in Beckenham and I had to write about it because the food knocked my socks off. Three courses of beautiful, flavourful vegan food in a relaxed neighbourhood boozer. Yes sir!
The Chancery is the sister pub to the Jolly Woodman, on Chancery Lane, which is one of my favourite old-man pubs in London – it is fuss-free and I don’t think I’ve ever been there and not met at least one ace dog. The Chancery is airy, nicely furnished and serves really really great food. They say that “every dish that leaves their kitchen is created using only the best locally sourced, organic ingredients.” When I spotted that they were talking about the vegan food on the menu I was exceedingly eager to try it out for myself. It makes me profoundly excited the Chancery are making the effort to create a menu with 3 courses created with vegans in mind. Vegans here don’t have to fall back on salads and chips. Seriously, what a time to be alive !
To start I had one of the best salads of my life. A salad I would be genuinely thrilled to eat once a week, every week, for the rest of time. Crunchy roasted chickpeas with avocado, pomegranate, slices of crisp beetroot on a salad liberally dressed with a ranch dressing. Every single bite was beautiful. It looked pretty but it tasted better. A round of applause for this salad please. It’s so good I’m trying to recreate it at home tonight and although I know I won’t be able to make anything as tasty I need to try an approximation of it to satisfy my yearnings until I can get back to the Chancery.
The main course was an exceedingly umami-heavy ramen. Silky soft blocks of tofu served in a seaweed and mushroom broth, with pickled veggies and the most perfect green tea noodles. Ugh. On the walk to the pub from my flat it was snowing sideways and this broth was the perfect remedy for cold bones. So rich, so salty and gingery. One of the best bowls of ramen I’ve ever had. Deeply satisfying but light enough to leave room for dessert…
And, incredibly they had a vegan dessert too. So many places have no pudding options for vegans and you get used to watching your mates eating pretty looking cakes and going “nah it’s cool” whilst a single imaginary tear flows down your cheek. Well not today satan! Dessert was a vanilla soy milk pannacotta with iced espresso and an almond and fennel biscotti. It was stunning. The pannacotta smooth and silky and then then intense kick of the coffee and crunch of the biscuit all coming together beautifully.
Throughout the meal the service was lovely – helpful, kind and so good at explaining the menu to vegans and non-vegans. This meal makes me feel so excited for veganism. When gastro-pubs in Zone 4 South East London are making meals this good and proudly advertising them as vegan it shows how increasingly accessible it is for vegans to eat very well out-and-about. If you live in Beckenham, Bromley or nearby and are after a pub meal that’s a cut above the rest, especially if you have to cater to vegans and omnivores I can honestly think of nowhere better for you to go. I am just so chuffed this place is a short walk from my sofa! The single downside is that it’s so dark in The Chancery my photos are appalling.