In New Malden (K-Town), you expect to walk into an establishment and be the only non-Korean person in there. What you don’t expect is to stroll into what looks like a traditional English pub tucked away in Bermondsey, and be overwhelmed with the aroma of sun dubu chiggae, the sound of sam gyeopsal sizzling and the decor of Korean memorabilia. Nor for the place to be jam-packed with Korean customers, and run solely by Korean proprietors. Allow me to introduce Old Justice, to my knowledge the only Kenglish Pubaraunt in existence.
A truly unique concept, I know, but there is no other way to describe it. It’s still a pub, complete with pub sign, lager on tap and full bar. Yet it is also a fully functioning restaurant with an extensive menu, talented kitchen staff and great foodie reviews. Old Justice has a dual personality, and allows a little bit of Korea into London pub culture.
I didn’t dine myself (will definitely return and do so in the future), but noticed that almost everyone else inside had ordered a meal, as well as drinks. Korean barbecue is Old Justice’s speciality, and it seemed to be going down very well- shared by groups of friends just as it would be in a restaurant in Korea. Of course, like most London K-restaurants, there is a lot more to the menu than just BBQ, and a veggie like me would be adequately catered for.
Although you would be equally welcome and correct to visit Old Justice for either drinkies or a whole meal, it did feel more like a restaurant than a pub. But this emphasis on food falls in line with its ‘Koreanness’. In Korea, it is normal to eat, snack, and continue munching while you drink alcohol- so as to keep the act of drinking as healthy as possible. Why should the two be mutually exclusive? And why should pub grub be limited to pies, sausages and mash?
Despite this, Old Justice manages to retain a very pubby feel. The place is buzzing with conversation, rendez-vous and natter. With a relaxed and laid back ambiance, this would be the perfect place to come for a wind-down after a hard day or week.
I don’t know much about beer, but some quick research tells me that there are no ales, and no speciality beers here- so seasoned pubbers may be disappointed if expecting anything more. But that’s not what Old Justice is about. For a chilled out drink near the Thames, some yummy food, and something very, very different, I would highly recommend Old Justice.
- Old Justice is situated @ Bermondsey Wall East, London, SE16 4TY.
- The nearest tube is Bermondsey (Jubilee Line).
- There has been an ‘Old Justice’ pub in the same location since the 1850s.
- Random fact: the original video for Paul McCartney’s No More Lonely Nights was shot at Old Justice in 1984!