152 Tooley St, London, London, SE1 2TU
- Tel: 020 7403 1342
Magdalen offers a daily-changing menu that features seasonal British ingredients and dishes to be shared, with a no-reservations policy downstairs to encourage the casual diner.
Services and products
- Average three-course meal price: £45
- Average main-course price: £16
- British cuisine
- Additional cuisines: French
- Style: Traditional Restaurant
Provided by Livebookings
"Maw-delin" or "Mag-de-lin"
28/09/2008 by Browners
My parents are obsessed with Mark Rothko. A bit like how Peter Stringfellow is obsessed with girls in plastic high heels and bikinis. It's a sort of pseudo-sexual thing. All encompassing and fascinating. So it was with great excitement that we went on a Brown family outing to the Tate Modern for their hugely anticipated "Rothko - the late years" exhibition on Friday for a private viewing. It didn't disappoint. It just served to reconfirm, if that was needed at all, that Rothko's work is as moving and haunting as Bach and Mozart. It was more like an existential philosophy exhibition than a gallery of paintings. We returned on Saturday to be in the audience for the all afternoon seminar connected to the exhibition. We were surrounded on all sides by people with even more emphatic Rothko fetishes than Mum and Dad! Not that I thought this was possible. I guess it's a bit like thinking your pretty good at football having scored a few goals for your school side and then going off to the regional trials - only to see all the other boys can kick the ball miles and have all the kit! But I am pleased to say that the Brown family held their own. Mum has vowed never to wash her right hand again having shaken hands with Mark Rothko's son, Christopher! Still buzzing from 4 hours of in depth intercourse about the ins and outs of the world of Rothko, we strolled along Bankside up towards Tooley street where we were delighted to find Magdalen. It's from the Anchor and Hope school of cookery. Or if you are from Bristol, it's similar to The Albany. The deep maroon walls made us feel like we were eating with the Seagram Murals hanging around us! The menu excited me more than the others. I loved the 3 part simplicity of it all. But on the downside it means that it reads less flamboyantly than menus tended to a few years ago. Beds, jus, tranches and so forth are gone. Now it's all about guess work and trust. It's the sign of a confident restaurant. I was in two minds about what to have. The devil inside me was whispering in my ear... telling me to have the grouse... but at £26 I couldn't. Instead I was delighted with my choice of potted crab which was as silky as a silkworm's sleeping bag, followed by an unctuous combination of shoulder and leg of pork - served with a mustardy sauce and the lightest crackling I have ever had. This was top class cooking. And brilliantly British. The others had a very good cauliflower soup with walnuts and other earthy autumnal bits and pieces... and Dad had a Rothko coloured maroon on black seared haunch venison. The fish soup, slow cooked shoulder of lamb and halibut that followed were equally memorable. All bore the hallmark of a kitchen that is at ease with itself. Don't get me wrong - it was all very good food. But I wonder what they are capable when they push things a bit further? I shared a blindingly good lemon tart with a burn sugar crust which was top class The pastry was thin and crumbled at just the right moments when you showed it the spoon. And the lemon custard was still warm and silky. Our only criticism concerns 3 embarrassments. 1. The step at the bottom of the stairs is not the same depth as the other stairs... I almost tripped over twice in the middle of the dinning room. 2. I had to queue to get into the gents in full view of the restaurant. It didn't really feel right. 3. Dad had an altercation with the manager about their policy of automatically adding a gratuity of 12.5%. Our waitress had been fantastic all evening - so we wanted to give her a tip... but we disagreed severely with their tipping policy. Surely if the gratuity is at the discretion of the person paying... it is not up to the restaurant to behave like this. It leaves a very sour taste in the mouth and we hope that Magdalen changes their policy. Tremendous food. The perfect place for a Rothko inspired dinner. O... and how are you supposed to pronounce the name?Report this
Sweet breads of delight
06/09/2008 by jmohring
We've spent 2 happy evenings at Magdalen and are delighted to have such a great restaurant on our doorstep. The atmosphere at Magdalen is discreet, grown up and classy and the food is even better. On our first visit we started with a rabbit terrine and potted shrimp before moving on to dishes of venison and sea bream. The terrine was chunky and studded with pistachios, the shrimp buttery and rich. Our main courses didn't disappoint and the high point for dessert was a molten centred chocolate pudding. The occasion was a birthday treat and the whole evening was perfect, the waiter attentive the wines well recommended and priced and the service unhurried but never slack. Our second visit with friends after a few too many cocktails at the Hide bar was another fine Bermondsey evening. Our initial impression on being seated was that we were the only people in the place having a good time as every one else seemed to be whispering or eating in silence. They may have just been enjoying their meals I suppose but we soon realised that it would be fine for us to add to the atmosphere with a little less sotto voce conversation. Our food did shut us up: starters included braised pigs cheeks, rich and savoury and fried lambs brains which were described as perfect. For the main course both skate wings and sweet breads were stand out dishes. The sweetbreads a fondly remembered childhood treat, just as silky smooth and more ish as I recalled. My only caveat with Magdalen is its somewhat sober air, the restaurant lacks buzz at times which is a shame because the food, service and wine is great and good value for this quality of experience. I would recommend this place for romantic dinners, business lunches and food lovers who bring their own buzz with them!Report this
Lovely meal, so why haven't we been back?
13/08/2008 by FoodStories
We visited The Magdalen for a romantic dinner and having read the menu on the website, we were drooling at the prospect. The Magdalen offers a menu featuring dishes such as, ‘rare grilled haunch of venison’, ‘confit rabbit leg’ and ‘hot foie gras, prunes and armagnac’. I was very excited (some might argue, a little too much) about ordering the ‘thinly sliced pigs head, pickled red cabbage and fried potatoes’ but unfortunately it wasn’t on the menu last week. As it was, I opted for potted Devon crab and toast and roast rib of longhorn beef, dripping toast, spinach and meat juices. My partner chose the hot foie gras mentioned earlier (I knew he would, he can never resist foie gras) and a rabbit, white bean and bacon dish that I can’t quite remember because I was drooling over my beef too much. The food was lovely, honest, simple and respectfully treated. You might complain that the portions are a little small. My potted crab was smooth, buttery and thoroughly delicious (the texture of the crab was somehow perfectly retained in the pot). I also ordered the roast rib of longhorn beef which was thin, rare, so tender and so full of flavour. The dripping toast was nice despite there not being a lot of it and it came topped with delicious, parmesan laced spinach. I could tell that my partners rabbit wasn’t quite so pleasing by the way he looked longingly over at my plate, his eyes begging me for a tasty morsel. His foie gras was apparently, ‘mmmmm, mmm, mmmmm’, but then foie gras always it isn’t it? We liked The Magdalen, the atmosphere was informal and friendly, the service was fairly good, although nothing special but something made us leave without ordering dessert. I can't quite put my finger on it.Report this
Marvellous Meal at Magdalen
23/01/2008 by ramanauskas
Really excellent meal here recently. Our pals misread the Open Table email and arrived half an hour late, but the staff were very pleasant and didn't fuss at all. Restaurant was almost completely full - we sat downstairs by the bar, which was a bit distracting with staff to-ing and fro-ing. I recommend you book upstairs which is cosier. Starters: Watercress and potato soup with oysters. Rather peculiar texture combination, with cold raw oyster in the warm creamy soup, but very interesting tastes. Alas was not profferred any of the foie gras with blood orange - eating out with greedy people is no fun. Must take someone skinny next time. Main: Pheasant and bacon pie to share. Wonderful presentation: enormous pie arrived in big white dish with deep golden pastry and a lump in the middle. Lots of speculation about the lump, which turned out to be a marrow bone, which is why they also provide a picky thing to winkle out the marrow. Pastry was delicous - quite thin and not at all flaky and probably loaded with butter. Oh dear. Lots and lots of meat, though the pheasant wasn't as gamey as I'd have liked. Served with a big bowl of red cabbage which was mostly hoovered up by Greedy Friends as we were full of pie. Dessert: Rhubarb and custard ice cream - did what it says on the tin, pretty good. Came with home made (I'm pretty sure) shortbread which I though had too much sugar on but OH didn't, so he ate that as well as his mille feuille. Chestnut and pear mille feuille - deee- licious. Again a very short pastry, full of flavour, with the sweetness of the chestnut countered by tangy pear puree. Wine was reasonably priced; I ordered the white in a hurry and chose an Italian Chardonnay which was fine but nothing outstanding - but also about £17 I think. And a good bottle of Rioja (Crianza) matched well to the pheasant. Total bill was startlingly good value at £45 a head for three courses, 2 bottles of wine, a coffee and service.Report this
Great British Food
08/11/2007 by DavidMuir
I went to this place recently for a Friday business lunch. We had to be done quite quickly and the staff were brilliant. The menu is really very simple with fantastic seasonal produce. I had a wonderful smoked haddock with mustard cream, saurkraut and sausage. It was just superb. I didn't have any wine but the list was great. If you are looking for a reference point think St John meets GalvinReport this
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