On The Hoof Bistro, SE26 5EX

Small, friendly cafe/restaurant in Sydenham, opened in 2014. The owners also run the small coffee kiosk inside Sydenham Station, a few minutes' walk away. The building used to be an optician's for many years; as a nod to this, the bill arrives in a glasses case.

The decor consists of simple reclaimed wooden tables/desks and mismatched chairs, with one wall of framed mirrors and the other of art (for sale at around £100-£200). The front window meanwhile gives a good view of local passers-by.

During the week the lunch menu features soups, salads and sandwiches as well as more hearty lasagnas/casseroles dishes, while on Sunday lunchtimes it's just roast dinners. In the evenings the menu is more of a relaxed European brasserie style. A sign in the window in March 2015 was advertising live acoustic music on Saturday nights (but note: as of August 2019, it's closed by 6pm).

Kat and Rick visited for Sunday lunch in March 2015. The Sunday menu featured beef, pork, chicken and veggie roasts (all £12.50 except the veggie, which was £10.50). We both opted for the pork and each received an enormous pile of food: two huge slices of juicy roast pork, spiced apple sauce, two roast potatoes, sweet potato mash, glazed carrots, two Yorkshire puddings, stuffing (delicious). Also included in the price was a side dish of three big chunks of cauliflower cheese, which Rick said was surprisingly good (Kat declined hers beforehand, as cauliflower is a horrific vegetable), and a dish of extra crackling (excellently crisp, not too teeth-breaking). We were feeling almost full when our server brought us out two extra Yorkshire puddings that were apparently going spare. We left feeling very satisfied — my only criticism would be that the cutlery was not quite sharp enough to attack the meat efficiently.

A pot of tea was £2.20, and a bottle of Roscoe's Amber Ale (which arrived pre-poured in a glass) was £4. Service was very attentive, the owner happily came and showed me the beer bottle afterwards as I'd forgotten what it was called and wanted to make a note of it.

Rowley Birkin QC's visit on a Friday in August 2019: arriving just after 9am I was told (unprompted) that there wouldn't be any food till 9.30. I had a pastry for the time being, but trying later to get some food, I was this time told there wouldn't be proper food till lunchtime, so presumably something had happened to their cook. There were just a few other customers at first, later building to about 15. Three or four others were also working on laptops: there's decent WiFi, some sockets and even the two-person tables are big enough to allow one person to work comfortably with a laptop and notepad/documents beside it.

Kat's verdict: One of the best Sunday roasts I've had in a while, and much better value for money than your standard pub roast. I'll definitely return.

Rowley Birkin QC's verdict: Good place to work in, music not intrusive, staff friendly.

Accessibility: a step to get in, otherwise level. Some of the tables and chairs are very close together and might be awkward to navigate around.

Child friendliness: At least one adult with children was present when we visited in August 2019. There are some high chairs (though lacking trays). There's a fold-down baby changing tray in the toilet.

See also:

Last visited by Rowley Birkin QC, August 2019. Opening hours taken from the On The Hoof website, August 2019.
OS X co-ord: 535448 OS Y co-ord: 171510 (Latitude: 51.426417 Longitude: -0.053156)
Last edited 2019-09-01 16:34:03 (version 8; diff). List all versions.