The Garrison is one of my favourite spots on beautiful Bermondsey street. For me, part of the allure of Bermondsey Street is not only the fact that it’s littered with hidden gems but that you have to go out of your way to visit it. Despite being a short walk from London Bridge Station, very few tourists end up there and there’s barely a chain in sight. Adorned with hanging baskets of pretty, colourful flowers, the buildings are a wonderfully irregular mix of old and new and the street oozes charm and character.
Despite the place officially being called The Garrison Public House, the Garrison gives off much more of a relaxed cafe vibe. During the week there’s a constant stream of activity with people trickling in and out, meeting friends and colleagues for breakfasts or relaxing, writing or reading a book over a leisurely coffee. Over the weekend it transforms into a loud and buzzing hive of activity, popular with groups of friends and couples alike and bookings are definitely recommended.
I’ve been to Garrison before but didn’t realise they did a bottomless brunch so decided to return to try it out. The bottomless brunch is a 2 hour sitting and is £33 for two courses, or £38 for 3 courses – each with bottomless prosecco, mimosas and bellinis.
There’s lovely window seats which are perfect for people-watching but I think they must have forgotten our booking so we were a bit unlucky with our table – they didn’t really have room for us so just split a table of 4 into two, which was fine but we were very, very close to the couple next to us – you definitely wouldn’t have wanted to discuss anything too personal!
The mimosas were made with freshly squeezed orange juice and it was lovely to be offered grapefruit and peach bellinis which were made with fresh juices as opposed to the horrible syrups you get. One thing I really liked is that you could mix and match and change drinks as much as you liked – a nice touch considering most bottomless brunches you have to pick one drink and stick to it.
The menu is a good mix between “traditional” brunch options and more hearty main meals and has several options for veggies in each course.
My brunch started with the beef shin ragu with gnocchi, whilst my veggie friend started with the smoked mac n cheese. Gnocchi is pretty heavy for a starter but wow, this dish was absolutely delicious. I’d go as far as to say it was as good as the beef shin ragu pasta that I had at Trullo and Padella which I raved about as one of my favourite dishes all last year – high praise indeed. I would go again (and again) to have this on its own, it was so rich and melted in your mouth. The smoked mac and cheese was good but a big portion as a starter, it would have done us as a main!
I liked the sound of the smoked haddock with potato rosti, poached eggs and hollandaise but fancied salmon rather than haddock which I sometimes find a bit too overpoweringly fishy, so asked them to swap the smoked haddock for smoked salmon, which they happily did. My friend chose the eggs florentine which came with a generous amount of spinach, two eggs and muffins. Mine was really tasty and the rosti was lovely and crispy, but I think if I’d had that on its own as a main as part of the two course option followed by a dessert, I’d have left a little hungry – it wasn’t a very big portion and only came with one egg, despite saying eggs on the menu. Luckily after my gnocchi I was already getting a bit full so the small portion suited me just fine, even if it did look a little dwarfed on its big plate, but I’m glad I had the gnocchi first!
Even though we were quite full, we decided we could make room for dessert. We both chose the chocolate brownie with ginger ice cream and a blueberry and lavender coulis. The brownie was warm, chocolatey and very fudgy in texture – just how I like them! The ginger ice cream was absolutely delicious, with an intense but refreshing ginger flavour which went perfectly with the rich brownie. I was intrigued to see how such strong ginger ice cream would go with lavender which can also be quite overpowering, but the lavender flavour was only a hint and was very delicate. The blueberry compote was lovely and had lots of blueberries in it. A great dessert, and definitely something I’d order again.
The service was impeccable, your glass never went empty for a second and was constantly being topped up – something you rarely find in a bottomless brunch. Though we were a little cramped, the kitchen and the service seemed to keep up with the demand – unlike at Grind where it felt that the servers and kitchen were overstretched. We also didn’t feel rushed at all, though our glasses were removed around the two hour mark, there was no urgency to kick you out – again unlike Grind where we had to move to the bar at bang on two hours, despite their slow service meaning we hadn’t finished eating.
I was so impressed with our brunch at The Garrison, it was a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon and I love the decor and setting there. One of the lesser known but best bottomless brunches I’ve had in terms of service, value and food.
Nearest station: London Bridge