Located along South East London’s Green Chain Walk and adjacent to Sydenham Woods lies neighbourhood favourite, The Wood House. Inspired by creator of the Great Exhibition Hall in Crystal Palace, Sir Joseph Paxton, the venue now boasts a rejuvenated pub and dining room complete with one of the most unique gardens in the city, featuring giant garden games, al fresco huts and the Burger Shack.
Head through the large double doors into the main pub and behold a beautiful new bar featuring four real ales and a whole host of London craft beers, including Camden Town Brewery and Meantime. Just off the main bar is a newly created lounge area, with leather sofas, regal armchairs and a real log fire, perfect for the winter months that lie ahead. Alternatively, for a more secluded and cosier spot move through to ‘Paxton’s Study’, with its own wood burning stove and collection of memorabilia celebrating the great architect. Hidden behind wood panelling is a large wall mounted TV, making this the ideal spot for private bookings during the forthcoming Rugby World Cup.
Stroll through the bar, past the Scullery to reach the elegant dining room, split into two areas – a casual dining room, complete with Chef’s Table for groups of up to 10, and the light-filled conservatory. Peruse the new menu offering seasonal British dishes whilst keeping an eye on all the action from the open theatre-style kitchen.
Splendid starters include cured salmon; crispy monkfish cheeks; or kohlrabi, apple, watercress, pomegranate and pistachio salad whilst magnificent mains feature herb-crusted hake with lardons and a fennel, lovage and pomegranate salad; beetroot hash, avocado and ricotta burger; or alternatively, tuck into the lemon and thyme half chicken; cyder glazed shoulder and belly of pork with crackling from the rotisserie oven.
The sweet toothed will be spoilt for choice with a tantalising array of desserts. Delve into the caramel apple crumble with custard; lemon and raspberry ripple posset or enjoy the chocolate madness of Nutella brioche bread and butter pudding.
Thirst-quenchers include an enviable range of craft and premium beer as well as Young’s award-winning cask ales. An extensive wine list from around the world provides ample choice to accompany the hearty, freshly prepared menu.
For an ideal summer treat, drop by for afternoon tea on Fridays between 2pm and 5pm and enjoy three courses of sweet and savoury fancies (£15 per person; £20 including glass of Prosecco). Looking for the perfect weekend feast? Tuck into the traditional slow roasted sirloin of beef or vegetarians will love the beetroot, fennel and mixed nut roast all served with roast potatoes, leeks and peas, hispi cabbage and honey glazed parsnips.
From the conservatory, saunter out into the expansive garden, renewed with a mixture of herringbone paving and artificial lawn. Six bespoke huts sit within a wide semi-circle, all named after woodland birds species such as Chaffinch and Robin, a nod to the pub’s leafy location. To complete this unique garden space, the popular Young’s Burger Shack have taken a permanent residence from 22nd July, serving some of the juiciest burgers in town – ideal for lazy afternoons in the sun with friends. Those wanting to bring the kids can keep them entertained with an array of games including a life-sized chessboard, giant Connect Four and table tennis.
The Wood House – a study of greatness in design, food and drink.
The Wood House, 39 Sydenham Hill, London SE26 6RS