The Marquis of Wellington, Bermondsey: A pub, but not as we know it

18 Feb 2017

In London, a great pub can be more difficult to find than a clean pair of pants on laundry day. Some have been accidentally swept out with the rest of the rubbish, some have been hidden under a lick of paint and a name like ‘Inferno’ or ‘Vision’ and others have been left to rot. However, Bermondsey has managed to hold onto a good fair few.

The Marquis of Wellington on Druid street is one of the pubs that has managed to survive. It’s part of the Bermondsey Beer Mile, which, as a wine and spirits drinker, I was ashamedly unaware of. Without losing its roots, the pub has been tarted up, given a new lease of life with pop-up street food every weekend, a smashing pizza menu and some new drinks.

With it being Valentine’s day on Tuesday, I had the fear of God in me that we’d be sat next to a whole host of loved up couples, staring adoringly into one another’s eyes, but the atmosphere couldn’t have been more polar opposite. The place was packed, Wales were playing England in the rugby, so as you can imagine, all eyes were on the widescreen TV. Still, the atmosphere was friendly and there were even some tables free.

You were encouraged to draw on the menu, ticking what you wanted and handing it into the staff (I like this idea, I like it a lot). We chose our table, which was upcycling at its finest, a door, complete with handle and lock on legs. The house Malbec was smooth and rich, after a week or two off the alcohol and only a couple of hours sleep, it did the job and made me quite tipsy.

We decided to take the ordering slow and steady and chose some garlic bread to begin, my mate went for Mozzarella and sweet onion (£4) and I chose Tomato and grilled aubergine (£4.50). Both huge, fluffy, doughy, oblong breads were slices of absolute heaven, dripping in garlic oil. Exactly the kind of comfort food you wanted to eat on a Saturday night in the local pub.

I’m not usually one to drone on and on about the weather, but that weekend was particularly freezing, so the pop-up street food we had been really hoping to try had packed up and gone – I couldn’t even begin to blame them. Us thin-skinned London creatures aren’t made for these types of temperatures, if it had not been for our booking, I wouldn’t have ventured out this evening either.

When it came to ordering the main I did something I never do – I ordered a salami pizza. I was feeling a little experimental and the manager had raved about it, so I put my faith in him and his taste buds. And when it arrived, I was very happy I had done. The spicy, but not too hot, salami was full of mesmerising flavour, the base was thin, crispy and soft in all the right places and a nice partner to the Sirloin Steak pizza (£9.75) we also devoured. This came with thick slices of tender steak, red onions and gorgonzola (£9.75). I’ve never met two flavours that complemented each other so well, the complexity of the steak and the commitment of the strong cheese could have been found on, I swear.

For me, The Marquis of Wellington now has a special place in my little heart. It’s a buzzing pub full of heart and soul and it attracts a nice crowd. They’ve made great touches to enhance the pub experience without going overboard. Oh, and the pizzas rock.


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