London SE1 website team

The Bermondsey Kitchen

The Honest Cabbage may have closed, but the restaurant scene on Bermondsey Street has been boosted by the arrival of the Bermondsey Kitchen, already the subject of fierce debate in our forum.

This new restaurant features the talents of head chef Ruth Quinlan, formerly of The Eagle in Farringdon and recipe columnist for Metro.

The food is described as "gutsy, flavourful and unfussy", much of which is cooked on an open grill at the heart of the restaurant, meaning that diners experience the smells of wood smoke on grilled fish and meat, the sounds of vegetables being chopped, and the sight of the chefs as they prepare your meal.

The Kitchen is the brainchild of 28-year-old Dela Foster, who worked in the retail and catering industries for six years before launching her own business.

"The essential task of preparing food is so universal across the world and throughout history," says Dela Foster. "It was this that made me interested in cooking with fire. This, the most basic form of cookery, is still used in many countries, and fire brings a fantastic character and depth to food. So the Bermondsey Kitchen has an 'ocakbasi' at its heart – a Turkish-style grill. But Turkish food is not the only cuisine which is cooked by this method, and we will explore all the different dishes which can be enhanced by being cooked over charcoal."

Dela spent a year looking for the right site for her new restaurant before alighting on Bermondsey Street. "I considered most parts of London," she says, "and at every party I went to, I asked people where they lived and if they liked it. One friend was particularly persistent, praising the merits of his own neighbourhood of Borough above all other places in London. So I started to look in Borough. And then I found Bermondsey Street. I fell in love with the church and rectory across the street from our site as soon as I saw them."

Dela is full of praise for Bermondsey: "People know each other, and greet one another frequently on the street. They share a sense of how special this area is. I want to make sure that we contribute to that, rather than damage it. At the Bermondsey Kitchen, we hope to create a friendly neighbourhood place which makes people glad they came."

Bermondsey Kitchen, 194 Bermondsey Street, London SE1
• Open for lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday. 11.50-15.00 for two courses, or 4.00-5.00 for a lunchtime sandwich.
• See what others have already said about the Bermondsey Kitchen in our forum

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