★★★ | Marquis of Wellington
Who is the Marquis of Wellington and what is he doing in Bermondsey?
The Marquis of Wellington was another name for the 1st Duke of Wellington (Arthur Wellesley), one of the leading military and political leaders of the 19th century. It’s also the name of a pub in Bermondsey down a lonely and dark stretch of road alongside railroad tracks that go into London Bridge. The Marquis of Wellington is not your typical pub – there’s no fish and chips nor sausage and mash on the menu. It is, however, doing things a bit different – it’s a pizza joint that also serves street food!
First off, let’s mention the pizza. There are eight to chose from, from salami to sirloin steak, porchetta and apple to prosciutto crudo, which is what my Italian dining companion had. It was a beautifully-looking pizza, very large (eight slices), topped with sun-blushed tomatoes, wild rocket and of course prosciutto. It was big enough to feed two people! However, it was very oily, too oily for my dining companion to eat with his hands. The pizzas are very good value and priced between £7 to £9.75 – a great deal considering how big they are! I, on the other hand, had that night’s pop-up street food choice. Lucky for me it was Smokin’ Lotus (smokinlotus.co.uk). I had the option of either the 8-hour smoked char siu pork rib, the 10- hour slow smoked beef brisket or the smoked tofu, so it was suggested to me by the manager to have the pork rib salad box (no more sandwiches were available on a Saturday night at 8 pm). The salad box came with Asian style ‘slaw with a creamy sesame dressing and Japanese style mashed potato salad. All I have to say is that it was delicious. The pork was grilled to perfection, the slaw was absolutely tasty, and the mashed potato salad was simply divine. And at £8 it was an excellent deal!
Fresh garlic bread is also a big part of the menu at the Marquis of Wellington. They are massive and excellently priced at under £4.50 each. My companion had the mozzarella, basil pesto and sun blushed tomatoes – he said it was very good but again, the bottom of the bread was oily. My San Marzano tomato with grilled aubergines and parmesan was perfect – the bread was crispy and the toppings were superb.
The Marquis of Wellington is located on the Bermondsey beer mile – a section of Bermondsey where you’ll find lots of local brewers. I drank the Anspach & Hobday Pale Ale beer – blond, delicious, beautiful and recommended. The Marquis of Wellington has other great selections of local keg and cask beers, alongside quality beers from around the world. And it being a pub, the Marquis of Wellington serves all the usual liquids – wines, spirits, bottled beers, etc.
It was a Saturday night at 7:50 pm when my friend and I walked it. It was extremely loud and rowdy and we struggled to get a table even though we had a reservation. It took a bit to figure out how things worked – if you’re eating from the menu, the menu that is supposed to be on your table (ours wasn’t), you need to tick what you want and then take it to the bar to order. We ordered at 8:10 pm and were told that the street food concession was already closing! Early for a Saturday night – luckily I got their last served meal of the day.
The pub was in a bit of disarray, and the empty table the friendly waitress found us was a bit dirty. The food came out fast and furious, but after our meal we were told they had run out of dessert – by 9:30 pm! Also, the pizza and garlic breads are served on cutting boards – I’ve never been a fan of eating off cutting boards because food tends to get into the wood and, if not properly washed, you might be tasting the pizza a customer might have had the day before. Nonetheless, good things are about to take place at the Marquis of Wellington. Just four months old, they plan to have live music on Thursday nights, will soon have a quiz night, and more street food options are planned. They also have free Wi-Fi.
The locals are lucky to have this pub on their doorstep, and visitors to the area will enjoy it as well, but it might not be worth trek all the way to Bermondsey when the West End will do for any type of pub and food option you want. The food = ★★★★, the pub itself = ★★, so it warrants ★★★.
To find out the upcoming street food traders at the Marquis of Wellington, follow them on Twitter @MoWBermondsey or Facebook – Marquis of Wellington
Telephone: 020 7394 0246
Address: 21 Druid Street, Bermondsey, London, SE1 2HH
Mon – Thu: 11:00 – 23:00
Fri – Sat: 11:00 – 00:00
Sun: 11:00 – 23:00
Food served: Mon – Sun: 11:00 – 22:00
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.