The entrance to The Globe Tavern looks like any Borough boozer; noisy and bustling with media, legal, and creative types.
Inside the only indication toward the restaurant is underneath a chalked “toilet” sign. We hope some people get lost on the way and end up in the dining room and what a delicious detour that would be.
The Globe Tavern restaurant is managed by Michael. He waits on the room like you were in his own home but it turns out we are as his flat is above the restaurant*. The restaurant is horseshoe-shaped and split into two dining rooms both wrapped with windows that look down onto Borough Market. In the far room a banquette takes one side and a few tables the other. In the near room the main focus is towards the missing wall that splays open the kitchen in all its shiny, prepping, glory.
Open kitchens, despite the nature of them being open, often feel very closed yet Head Chef Luke Hawkins and his team step beyond the invisible wall and actively work the room. They serve the bread and the glorious brown butter butter. Brown Butter Butter. Brown butter mixed in equal parts with butter. Double butter. What a perfect way to start an evening. Hawkins also brings around the Special (often a larger cut from supplier downstairs in the market) and says they “actively speak to each table at least once”. This interaction releases the pressure cooker and the room is open, relaxed, hospitable. Have a question about the dish? How did you make this sauce? Where does the lamb come from? Catch their eye and if they don’t shout the answer from behind the pass (in the nicest possible way) they wander over and explain at your table.
You could be in a country pub. You could be in a neighbourhood restaurant. Actually you are five minutes walk from The Shard and sitting above 1002 years of trading history with many more thousands of people passing by every day.
And the food, well, similarly neighbourhood. If you were located within a market why wouldn’t you wander our of your door and pick the brightest and best produce? It seems logical to most however sadly not always put in practice; GT has witnessed beautiful fresh Scottish lobsters leave Loch Inver for France while Roux’s Inver Lodge Hotel looks down from the hill and orders theirs from Billingsgate.
Thankfully at The Globe Tavern the menu reads like a local shopping list with ingredients that utterly shine and what the menu doesn’t say translates to much much more.
Take the “Beef, Apple, Scallop, Broccoli” dish. The beef is from half a Dexter from Swaledale butchers in Yorkshire that Hawkins and his team butcher themselves and the scallop roe is made from hand dived Dorset scallops then dehydrated.
“Asparagus, Smoked Egg Yolk, Pickled Spring Onion, Ramson Flower” is asparagus from Portwood Farm in Norfolk, via Turnips in the market, and the accompanying egg yolk is cooked for two hours at 65 degrees then smoked with Earl Grey.
Strawberries? Raspberries? Nothing less than Gariguette and French Tulameen.
More dishes such as “Crab, Clementine, Peanut, Chicory”, “Lamb, Cockles, Jersey Royals, Sea Purslane” and “Sea Bass, Tomato, Red Pepper, Nduja, Black Rice” offer the same simple listing with complex results like our lovely Brown Butter Butter.
When it’s this good who wouldn’t double up?
Cost of a 3 course dinner and bottle of wine:
£43 per person
9 out of 10 – picked straight from the market you can’t get more seasonal and fresh
8 out of 10 – homely, informal, welcoming and lively although perhaps a little stark for some. Ditch the paper napkins Michael!
7 out of 10 – friendly greeting and the whole team were amiable with their guests including the Chef and brigade
7 out of 10 – excellent food and service although the restaurant is rather hidden and the toilets leave a lot to be desired
Summary in seven:
Brilliant market kitchen that deserves more customers
8 Bedale Street,
Sunday/Monday: 12:00 – 19:00
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday: 12:00 – 15:00 and 18:00 – 21:30
Saturday: 12:00 – 21:30
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7407 0043
*The flat above the restaurant also belonged to “Bridget Jones”. Michael has not started any official tours as yet although the mention of this on The Globe Tavern’s new website could possibly increase demand. Watch this space!