Offering a beautiful dining space and an expansive sun-blushed courtyard, The Half Moon is the London pub with a difference
Words Charlotte Johnstone
It’s always exciting when you walk into a place beholding a colourful community-led history. It’s not just the fact The Half Moon is a grade II-listed building, but what it represents. Back in the day, the pub was a beacon of live music in south London. It’s bricks and mortar hosted the likes of U2, Frank Sinatra and Paloma Faith, to name a few.
Following a devastating flood in 2013, The Half Moon was closed for a number of years. In 2016 Fuller’s took over and the joint rose to fame when the community campaigned to save it as a music venue.
This March, The Half Moon threw its doors open once again and the timing couldn’t have been better. A lucky spout of glorious spring sunshine meant that the venue was welcomed back to business with a beaming smile. Sitting in the high-ceilinged dining room, the atmosphere is on point – although the acoustics and lack of textiles means it can be rather noisy. It looks a bit like a Victorian conservatory, with a few quirky touches dotted around here and there. Think hanging basket lights, mismatched chairs and trellis-lined walls. Service is friendly and helpful – you have to credit a new place with a large beer garden on one of the first warm days of the year, it’s bound to be busy.
The menu by head chef Mike Blizzard offers a traditional take on classic British pub-style food with some fancy extras. We start with goats’ cheese and pumpkin tart, melt-in-the-mouth pig’s cheek with potato puree, and New Forest venison carpaccio. Mains feature hearty items such as fish and chips, steak and burgers, but also pumpkin gnocchi, spice roasted cauliflower and thyme roasted celeriac with polenta. The grilled salmon is a highlight, with crispy skin and a flavoursome bed of chorizo and butterbean cassoulet. Puddings are also a winner. The lemon tart is delightfully piquant and Paul’s chocolate brownie is the epitome of chocolatey heaven.
If we weren’t so full we’d have taken a tipple outside and joined the rest of south London in the beer garden. But it’s worth noting that when the weather starts warming up properly they’ll be firing up the outdoor kitchen and BBQ. Bring on summer!