*Warning – long post and lots of pictures…grab a snack (and maybe even a cuppa’ if you’re feeling particularly British)!
Sunday morning we made the trek to Lambeth to try out brunch at the new Pharmacy 2 restaurant located in the Newport Street Gallery. Apparently a few years ago Damien Hirst opened a restaurant with the same style and concept in Notting Hill that was very popular, so this is something of a relaunch after the original closed down.
We had a relatively early reservation (11am) because when we called to book it was nearly full. It is set upstairs in an Art Gallary (I’ve got some pictures of that coming later in the post so do keep on reading). Being a pharmacy style restaurant, everything is very sterile looking (duh!).
It is not a very big restaurant, quite small actually but we were seated immediately. I think we beat the brunch/lunch crowd because, thankfully, it was almost empty when we got there. The entire space is decorated with things to do with pills, other medicines and general hospital/pharmacy/Doctor paraphernalia. You must take a moment to look around – especially at the bar!
On to the food and my friend and I’s experience; ours was a little strange and I bet you are wondering why I called it food for the Borrowers (if you are not familiar with the Borrowers they are very tiny people that live in the walls and floors of an English house. It was originally a book, that was then made into a TV show, I think, and then a movie. Another great afternoon read/watch with your cuppa, but please, finish this first).
To start, we both ordered a brunch item (after being told lunch items were not available till later-fair enough), tea and water. We asked the waiter, before not knowing lunch items were not available, if we could order a side of the creamed spinach to share. That was when we were told lunch was not available but he would check if he could make an exception for the one item (they said yes). We told him thank you and then went onto wait for our food and catch up some more.
Both brunch items came out. I ordered the creamed mushrooms on focaccia with pecorino ramsons which was delicious. My friend ordered the crushed avocado on toast with chilli and Portland crab and it was only just large enough to fill a Borrower. It was probably about 5 bites of food. I understand small plates (I love Tapas) but at 12.50 (pounds not dollars) I think it was a tad overpriced. She did say it was good but not £12.50 good! Now we were just waiting on the spinach….we kept waiting….and waiting. Finally, we were both finished eating but decided to ask if the spinach was still coming. That was when we were told it was never ordered. We told the different waiter that our original waiter came back out and told us the kitchen was going to do it for us. He informed us that no, it was not put in or ok’d. All just very confusing. With that we were asked if we wanted a dessert/pudding menu with which my friend replied (and I love her for this) “Yes, I’m still bloody hungry”.
When ordering dessert we were told they were very small and to both order one. We both went for the Willies Peruvian Gold chocolate mousse with Honeycomb. They never came out. After waiting 25 minutes or so we asked someone passing if they were coming (we didn’t want something like the spinach happening again). With that the 2nd waiter brought them right out and apologized for the wait and told us he was taking them off the check. The desserts were great! Definitely give the mousse a go if you check this place out.
We asked for the check and what was funny was when it was brought out it had the creamed spinach on it! We had them correct it (it was a little awkward after they were adamant it was not put in the system) and they brought out the corrected check which again had and extra item we did not order on it. That is when the 2 waiter scrupled up the bill, did some counting in his head and said ’12 pounds”. We both looked at him confused. He said he totaled everything (minus the dessert) and halved it! For 12 pounds we could not say anything about the portion size or wait times.
Both my main and my dessert was very good. I think some items (cough cough crab on avo toast) are over priced and obviously there was major confusion with the ordering at our table but it was an interesting restaurant (lacking some atmosphere) to try out…even if just for the decor!
We made out way down to the gallery that displays some of Damien Hirst’s art collection. On show was Power Stations by John Hoyland (ended 10th April). Make sure that if you go to Pharmacy 2 to eat you leave time to walk around the gallery. It is a very open and airy space – really nice to walk around! We had a wander, stopping to discuss the different pieces of art, before heading off to Maltby Street market because we were both still hungry.
See what the Maltby street market was like in my next post. Hint: definitely give it a try if you are in the area!
Lots of Love