The Phoenix

Posted By Kerri


I had lunch at the Phoenix today, the training restaurant in Lewisham attached to the local college.  The food is cooked by third year students and served to paying customers by their classmates.  For four days a week, during term-time (plus some evenings) you can enjoy three courses of  ‘exciting modern’ food,  for less than £15.

I was really excited by the idea of dining somewhere completely different, I haven’t made it along to any of the underground restaurants currently taking London by storm but this felt similar in some ways.  We didn’t know what we were going to be served or how well it was going to be cooked so there was an element of uncertainty about the whole thing, we did know that Friday was gourmet day though so we weren’t taking too many risks.

The whole experience was very different to eating in a “normal” restaurant, the dining room was tucked away somewhere in the middle of the college and, despite the proper tablecloths and attempts at silver service, we were still essentially eating in the middle of an academic building.

The ‘staff’ couldn’t have been friendlier, they weren’t professionally trained and made some small mistakes with the orders that might have lost them points in a proper restaurant but they were incredibly enthusiastic and keen – we were even treated to a joke while dessert was served.


And so to the food.  After a well presented and technically skilful amuse bouche, I opted for the salmon and crab starter.  The crab was somewhat over-powered by the salmon and it was rather too large a portion but it was all very well presented and attractive to look at.


My main course of stuffed pork with a thyme jus was lovely, the meat was well seasoned and perfectly cooked and the jus was a great match in terms of flavour.  I was particularly impressed with the well-cooked and expertly crafted vegetables – another example of the skills the students are obviously learning and one I could do with adopting at home.


The desserts though were the real star of the show; even a s a dessert novice, I could tell my choice of apple tart with a crumble topping and caramel sauce was exceptional.  I swithered over whether to order dessert or not because I was already approaching fullness but I’m glad I did.  Everything about it was brilliant from the perfectly cooked pastry to the crunchy crumble topping and the deliciously sweet but not cloying sauce.  I couldn’t eat it all but I’m glad I attempted it.

It was great value and a really good experience which I would definitely recommend if you’re in the area.

Jun 12th, 2009

4 Comments to 'The Phoenix'

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  1. Antonia said,

    That dessert looks absolutely scrumptious! In fact, the whole meal looks great.
    .-= Antonia´s last blog ..No ordinary lasagna =-.

  2. Lizzie said,

    I had no idea about this place, and I’ve lived in the borough of Lewisham for 2 and a half years! I’ll definitely get myself down there. Do you need to book?
    .-= Lizzie´s last blog ..A Green Frittata =-.

  3. Kerri said,

    You do need to book, Lizzie and they’re a bit vague about it from what I understand. My friend booked for four of use but she just had to let them know how many of us there woulld be and then they told us to be there by 1pm as lunch was 12-1.30pm.

  4. Helen said,

    Thanks for posting this Kerri, it is noted and we will be making a booking soon.

    Have you been to the Westminster Catering College on Vincent Square which does a similar thing? It was very good, but the puddings were somewhat under-whelming when we went.

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