Review by Kelly Hussey 11/04/2011
The Cambria is the kind of pub you wished you had on the end of your road. Beautifully presented with a fantastic beer garden, it ticks all of the boxes and establishes Camberwell’s status on the more ‘up’ side of ‘up-and-coming’.
The Cambria is stunning to look at. It may not look like much from the outside, but stepping inward is like entering a playground for grown-ups. Immediately your eyes will fall on the ornate bar covered in plush red leather. Then you’ll start to notice other little touches. The funky vase filled with pretty flowers, the swirling, delightfully OTT wallpaper, the ornate mirrors, old fashioned lamps and incredibly elaborate – and eclectic – seating. It’s something out of the pages of a storybook and you’ll be loathe to go back to any run of the mill pubs after a visit here. And they top this off with a gorgeous – and sizeable – patio area out back, complete with lots of plants and plenty of seating.
The atmosphere here is one of people content and happy in the knowledge that their pub is possibly the prettiest in London. A certain in-the-know feeling fills the space, with the majority of customer made up of locals and regulars. This is part of the beauty of Camberwell – people still avoid it despite it having a big facelift over the years and emerging as something of a butterfly, particularly when it comes to the area’s pub scene. The staff are incredibly friendly and welcoming to new faces, however, and you’ll be made to feel a part of the very beautiful furniture in no time.
Competitively priced for the area, with mains coming in at around £10 a head, the food at The Cambria is mainly pub staples with an upmarket twist. For example, instead of sausage and mash you get Toulouse sausages with a creamy mash and spiced apple sauce. And the good old fish ‘n’ chips has been replaced with roasted salmon fillet with harissa potato, mushy pea cake and roasted balsamic tomatoes. Fancy!
With over a dozen red wines and as many whites, covering a huge range of prices for most budgets, it’s up to you to make your visit here what you want. It’s almost worth splurging on one of their better quality bottles to make the most of your experience. The wine covers a range of regions and grape varieties and the options are very well described, allowing you to make an informed choice and match your tastes to the bottle. If it’s beer you’re after, they do offer a strong selection of draught lagers as well as Guinness and real ales like the much-applauded Doom Bar.
The Last Word
The Cambria is flourishing following a facelift in August 2010 and it’s easy to see why. Proving you can have style and substance, it’s an example of why travelling south of the river can be oh-so worth it.