The Bear, Camberwell

LONDON | Camberwell isn’t a part of London that most visitors make their way to. It’s in a awkward spot, sandwiched between Brixton and Peckham, seeming always on the verge of taking off but never quite getting there. The lack of a tube station, and a reputation that doesn’t really reflect the area that Camberwell is today, doesn’t help. To those in the know, however, Camberwell is full of gems worth seeking out. One of these, is The Bear.

Closed and boarded up for six years, the former pub was rebirthed as a new pub, The Bear, late last year. It’s by chefs Joe Sharratt and Teddy Roberts, who made their name at Joe’s previous venue, Brixton’s Naughty Piglets. From the outside, The Bear looks like a Typical London pub. Inside is a space that’s part traditional pub, part wine bar, part minimalist artist hangout. It’s casual, a bit eclectic, and fitting when you realise what Joe and Teddy are trying to achieve.

There’s a DJ spinning vinyl, and punters enjoying classic pints, local craft brews, low-fi wines, and top notch spirits. The Bear is a great local’s pub, but that’s not the reason you’re making the trek out to Camberwell. Walk past the DJ booth, and you’ll find a narrow side space, housing an open kitchen, with stools for 12 diners perched along a chef’s counter.

The chef’s table opened in February this year, and sees Joe, Teddy, and the team build upon what they were doing at Naughty Piglets. It’s essentially modern British cuisine, drawing inspiration from the melting pot of cultures that make London the city that it is. Top quality ingredients are sourced from local, independent suppliers, with a focus on things cooked over fire.

The compact menu is continually evolving, and it’s the kind of menu where you’ll want to try everything. English asparagus with curry leaf mayonnaise is a delight, as is the Devon crab, served atop a mound of delicate pickled cabbage, topped with peanuts, nori, and yuzu dressing. Smoked eel arrives at the table on a bed of pickled Yorkshire rhubarb and ginger, contrasting and combining wonderfully.

The duck Kyiv, a dish that’s been evolving as The Bear finds its groove, has become a bit of a signature dish, and for good reason. Minced duck encases a filling of wild garlic butter, which is crumbed and fried. Served with buttery mashed potato and jus. It’s worth visiting The Bear to eat this alone.

Since I visited, the duck Kyiv has been tweaked further, now featuring duck liver butter, and pickled cherries. Being back in Melbourne, I can’t easily pop back in to try the latest iteration, but if you’re in London, or visiting soon, The Bear should be on your radar.

The Bear

296A Camberwell New Road
London SE5 0RP
United Kingdom

Telephone: 020 3015 5168
E-mail: [email protected]

Tue – Thu: 4:00pm to 12:00am
Fri: 4:00pm to 1:00am
Sat: 12:00pm to 1:00am
Sun: 12:00pm to 10:00pm



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