Review of 'The Refinery'

A trendy eatery located on the up and coming Southwark Street. Located on the ground floor of a glass office tower, the floor to ceiling windows show the stylish interior. Relaxing-looking tables on the pavement outside are surrounded by lounging sofas and chairs. The large bar runs alongside the building with the smaller eating area at the front.

We visited on a very busy weekday night with several large and loud groups drinking in the bar. Wandering in the door no one approached us so we chased after a waitress who waved us in the general direction of the seating area. Eventually finding the one server she told us to sit wherever we wanted where she followed us with the menus. We chose a comfortable-looking semi-circular bench with several chairs located near the window. Eventually we were asked if we wanted any drinks which we ordered along (simply soft-drinks) with some bread to start. About 45 minutes later we had not received either but with a bit of nudging the waitress eventually went and made the drinks herself. We never received the bread. The menu is largely drinks but the food was quite nice looking with a number of sharing platters suitable for nibbling while drinking. Starters range from Thai-Style Prawn Soup (£7.50) to Steamed Mussels (£5.95/£9.00) and a Pint of Prawns (£8.75). A lot of the menu seems to be focused on seafood, fresh vegetables and breads. The flatbread section of the menu is quite good with a large number of toppings available at around about £10 each.

We wanted proper food so eventually we were asked what we would like (you didn't receive the bread? Oh, sorry…) I had the fresh market fish & scampi, fried in a basket w/ chipped potatoes (£9.95) which was quite tasty. The chips were perfectly cooked with the only complaint, if anything, being that it was all a bit greasy (of course, to be expected!). My wife had the hand beer-battered fish w/ chips & homemade tartare sauce (£9.95) which was wonderfully fresh and tender. Our other companion ordered a chicken club sandwich on a ciabatta (a very reasonable £5.95) which she said was quite good though it seemed a bit bready to me…

We gave up on ordering deserts as although we had arrived at about 6 pm, it was about 9 pm by the time we finished our main dishes. The waitress explained that it was very busy and that she had been working all day (a bit odd considering a number of other tables that arrived after us were served well before us, drink, ate and left hours before received our main dishes). A shame, perhaps they should hire more staff? To be honest, the service spoiled what would have been a wonderful meal. Certainly could not fault the food we received. The atmosphere was quite relaxed though as the evening wore on the noise from the drunk people in the bar was quite overwhelming so the music was turned up making conversation quite difficult.

Rating: “Average, but who wants to be average?”

Review Date: 2011-07-31

Cuisine: American/British

Address: 110 Southwark Street, London SE1 0TF

Public Transport: TUBE Southwark

Location: London (England) - Southwark



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Telephone: +44 (0) 845 468 0186