A Feast Of Food And Ale

The Old Sergeant ticks all the boxes

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Old Sergeant

Pub of the Year 2011 finalists

The Old Sergeant in Garratt Lane may be in the final of the Campaign for Real Ale's area pub of the year, but does its food match its beer offering? We went to find out....

This Young's pub has been stylishly renovated, including a cosy courtyard nicknamed 'the Love Shack' (right), and is the kind of place that would appeal to foodies, without losing its traditions.

As we're seasoned pub-goers, we had to start with a pint of beer each - Wandle Ale, brewed by Sambrook's in nearby Battersea. This refreshing beer hit the spot after our walk from Earlsfield.

The menu has some unusual dishes among the traditional pub fayre. These include homemade bobotie (£8.95), which is a traditional South African dish, and a sharing platter of "Hot Wing Roulette" (£6.50), which has 10 wings of "varying heat".

There were an awful lot of choices on the specials board as well, including pork chops, sauteed potaotoes and kale (£8.50); oxtail stew and mash (£7.95); 20oz t-bone steak, chips and BBQ sauce (£15.95).

I have to say there weren't too many fish or veggie options on the menu and I opted for a veggie meal - cheese and spring onion crispbake, served with chips and salad (£7.95). My companion went for speciality sausages and mash (£8.95) - picking the beef and Winter Warmer bangers, made exclusively for the Old Sergeant. They also offer pork and Wandle ale sausages.

My meal (left) was just the kind of hearty food a vegetarian might fancy on a cold January night in Wandsworth and it was a generous portion.

I was pleased that the crispbake wasn't too dominated by potatoes, but had a lovely cheesy and oniony taste. I had plenty of chips on the side for my carbohydrate fill.

The sausage and mash was also a decent-sized portion, and it's unusual to see beef bangers offered. As with my meal, it was a good choice on a winter's evening and my friend certainly enjoyed it.

Neither of us felt we had room for dessert, but I was intrigued by the homemade brandy pudding, topped with cream, cherries and flake (£3.50). They also offered ice cream, a cheese selection and homemade apple and berry crumble.

The waitress actually made it sound too good to resist when I asked her what it was like, and we agreed to share a helping.

I have to say it's about the biggest £3.50 dessert I've ever had on a night out (see left). It was actually similar to a trifle and was simply scrumptious, with a definite taste of real brandy. Had we asked for one each though, we'd never been able to finish it off!

We did have one more pint of beer each during our meal (a Young's Winter Warmer and a pint of "mixed" - half Young's Bitter and half Young's Special), which bought our total bill up to £33.85. I felt it was excellent value and I just might have to return for another brandy pudding before word gets out and they all disappear!

What's your top local pub? Tell us all about it on the forum.

Sue Choularton

February 1, 2012