The Black Dog, Vauxhall

It’s a familiar refrain of those who are more advanced in years, commenting about what is going on now. “Of course, it was much better when I was young. Not like today.” This can be applied to contemporary music, the level of manners in young people and the state of society in general. It’s a fondness for the surety of the past, a simpler time when things were more certain and there were not the complications and shades of grey that overwhelm modern times. However, I feel the exact opposite way about the Black Dog. I used to work around Vauxhall. The Black Dog (then the Lavender) was our local and I remember it being a load of old balls.

London is full of once great pubs that have been bowdlerized or had their atmosphere sucked out by the new corporate owners imposing their regime of bland. The Black Dog has gone completely the other way. There is a buoyancy and fervour to it where once was a piddling vapidity and it feels like a place where people enjoy coming to rather than having to settle for it being the nearest place in the area where you can get a pint.

As an office, we went for lunch at the Black Dog once and it was telling that it was only the one time. The current menu has much more of an appeal to it with much variety and depth to it. My companion and I started off respectively with the Welsh rarebit layered with red onion marmalade and the salt and pepper squid with wasabi mayonnaise. The excellence of these dishes really reflected the changes that have been made since I was last here. These were dishes made with sophistication and refinement. The addition of the red onion marmalade brought an extra richness to the Welsh rarebit and the wasabi mayonnaise made for a great accompaniment to the squid.

The main courses of lemon sole, mash potato, French beans and prawn bisque and sirloin steak, French fries, béarnaise, watercress once again showcased how the establishment has raised its standards The lemon sole was sumptuous and expertly crafted whilst the steak was a good cut of meat and well served.

It would have been better if there had been a greater range of choice for the desserts but the two we plumped for, the banoffee pie and New York cheesecake, were perfectly fine ways to round off a great meal. It just goes to show that the natural order of things is not merely decay but evolution and renewal.

The Black Dog
112 Vauxhall Walk
SE11 5ER

Tel: 020 7735 4440

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