Opening a restaurant is on many people’s wish list, but only a few manage to fulfil this ambition. Nonetheless, if your name is Gregg Wallace and you happen to be a host and judge on BBC’s Masterchef, then dreams can come true.
Wallace’s idea for Gregg’s Table was to re-create the foods of his childhood. Coming in through the glass doors, you can almost taste the nostalgia. Artfully stacked on wooden shelving at the far end of the restaurant are tins of Spam, bottles of Camp Coffee and conserves of lime pickle.
The décor is unpretentious – wooden tables and black chairs – although there’s plenty of natural light, thanks to the glass frontage that gives you a good view of Bermondsey Square.
The menu is varied and plentiful. It will appeal to those who don’t want overly fussy or elaborate food. I had a very tasty steak with chips, while my companion hankered after the fish fingers and baked beans. Although the menu comes from the 1970s, the nutritional value doesn’t. I had a side order of fresh spring greens as a nod to healthy eating, while the fish fingers were as far as you can get from the supermarket variety and hand made, using sustainable pollock, rather than cod.
Best of all was the dessert, and again I had to sigh in delight at the puds of yesteryear. There was knickerbocker glory (which went down a treat at the table next to me, as they ordered four of these beauties), banana split as well as spotted dick and custard. I opted for the latter and was pleased to see that the custard was freshly made, with specks of vanilla. It was a lovely pale cream, not a glaring bright and luminescent yellow.
Gregg Wallace isn’t a chef and nor does he claim to be. I don’t think Michelin stars are what he’s aiming for. Rather, good wholesome food that’s fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. It’s a place for families and there was a big table of ten near us, as well as fathers and sons enjoying a Sunday brunch. It’s also a great place if you’re on your own as there’s a coffee area with newspapers, giving a welcome invitation to take your time.
To book a table at Gregg’s Table, The Bermondsey Square Hotel, Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 3UN, call 020 7378 2456 or enquire here.