If you’re feeling woof – head to The Great Southern, Gipsy Hill

05 Sep 2019

It only takes a short trip outside of London to realise how dog friendly the capital really is. I recently found myself heading up north with a cockapoo and most places weren’t happy to let him in. Personally, I’m chuffed to see puppy dog eyes as I tuck into a sandwich. In my opinion, dogs are better behaved and more hygienic than the average person - you can quote me on that sound ‘bite’ if you like.

The Great Southern in Gipsy Hill is not a dog-friendly place, it’s a dog LOVING place; they have dog bowls, dog treats and a beer garden to stretch your paws in.

Luckily I’m not the kind of person to be scared off by an empty restaurant, otherwise, I wouldn’t have booked a newly renovated pub in the back end of Dulwich on a Thursday afternoon. Inside it’s a chorus of the usual kind of stuff: tables, exposed brick, upcycled wood, fancy tiles…I feel I don’t even need to describe it – you know the kind of thing, it’s everywhere at the moment (for good reason too).

After a quick stint in the South of France this summer, where it was frowned upon to order anything less than a five-course meal and sides, I was happy to see the sharing and starter part of the menu, welcoming those with small appetites as well as big.

There were warm and crispy mac and cheese bites (£3.25) which clung together as you tore them apart. There were fresh crudités (£3.10) with a vegan mayo and caper dip which was howl-at-the-moon good: creamy without an overwhelming taste of soya or coconut like most vegan ‘dairy’ products.

The great thing about eating this far from central London, apart from the extra legroom, is the prices. Yes, the prices here are much more pocket-friendly, with deals on cocktails (two for a tenner) of which the strawberry daiquiri and espresso martini come highly recommended (by me).

There was a vegan beetroot burger (£10.50) with a peppery and sweet purple patty held together by crunchy quinoa and slathered in sweet chilli sauce that was no dog’s dinner. I ate it quickly as if it had places to be – in my stomach. There was a thin crust pizza with tomato, mozzarella, capers and olives (£9.50) which wasn’t as impressive as the burger but I’d still sit up and beg for it.

My dining partner and I should have let sleeping dogs lie when it came to the dessert; we’d had a lot of food, but the promise of a warm chocolate brownie (£5.50) and a New York-style cheesecake (£5.95) were too good to pass up. Both of these classic desserts were out-of-the-box excellent and we fought like cats and dogs for the last piece.

So as the age-old saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you can renovate an old pub and win me over. If you come here for the food (which I strongly recommend you do) then you’ll be leaving with your belly full and your tail-wagging because hot-diggity-dog it’s good.


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