My friend heard great things about this place and we had a birthday dinner here. Believe me when I say that EVERYTHING was great. The crab starter sounded strange on the menu but amazing on my tastebuds. The mains were delicious and the birthday cake was out of this world!
The entire dining experience was enhanced by the wonderful service of the 2 waiters on the top level.
Excellent food, very good service. But... Nothing really made me want to go back again.
If you order one of the meals (I had rabbit) you might want to order potatoes and vegetables as extras. Portions aren't that generous.
Very nice, but not very memorable place. I have to say the food an service were very good, but it was lacking something unique. As a matter of fact, before writing this review, I'd actually forgotten about the place. :-o
Should you be in the area or have the opportunity to go, you will not be disappointed with the quality of the food or service. I had a simple, but fresh green salad to start with a very nice vinaigrette, and tender, flavourful rabbit for my main. The sherry aperitif and wine with dinner were spot on. Our waiter, though a little slow, complimented the experience.
It's just that there are so many nice, French-ish restaurants in London, I was hoping for something a little bit different with this one.
This surprisingly stylish restaurant is well positioned on Tooley Street near London Bridge. Despite having travelled down that road literally hundreds of time (it's on my way home), I'd always passed by the unassuming and slightly worn awning and sign and dismissed it as just another coffee and sandwich shop catering the swarms of suits (myself included) that worked in the area. Yet through the doors lies a sleek dining room which epitomises French elegance and, more importantly, has the top quality food to match.
It's not cheap with mains running at around £20 and starters and desserts being £8, but the food is delicious and the staff unusually friendly and welcoming. In an area starved of quality restaurants, Magdalen definitely stands out as a bit of hope for those who want to plan a work lunch or dinner without settling for the old stand by of Gaucho.
I should preface this as noting I had just come back from a week of snowboarding in Chamonix, so I had had my fill of French food. Still, despite being frenched out, I love the food, particularly the main of roast veal which was tender and succulent. The meat was a lovely pink colour and the juices mixed with the celeriac puree for a very moreish mash.
The house champagne went down a treat and just showcased the quality of the wine list. Needless to say, for a work lunch it was a bit boozy and we probably didn't get as much done that afternoon as we should have.
All in all, a great meal and a slightly expensive but definitely worth it experience. For an area which had left me in despair for a nice place to eat, I'm glad I was forced into discovering just how good Magdalen can be.
Delicious food from the team that brought us St. John. I had the Fois Gras Duck Salad starter which was very rich and absolutely delicious and the Lemon Sole for my main. Although we didn't indulge in dessert, we had 4 chocolate salted caramel bites to accompany our coffees.
My only reason for not giving 5 stars is that they were out of quite a few items on the menu. This could be because our reservation was at 8:00pm and all of the deliciousness had been enjoyed by others!
I highly recommend this restaurant for a business meal, a catch up meal with a friend in the event you don't want too much noise etc. The decor is nothing to write home about but it isn't offensive ...just sort of bland. If this doesn't bother you (as it certainly doesn't bother me...) head to Magdalen!
Christmas dos: A very British tradition found during the whole month of December involving various combinations of groups within the workplace so as to maximize the number of dos (drinking) possible. Thankfully, one those dinner dos involved Magdalen.
I dressed up for this place. Yea that's right, shutup. I had high expectations for this Tooley Street venue, and they were all met with flavorful dishes at heartbreakingly cheap prices for the city.
I personally dove in with the 3 course deal - started off with a pigeon and partridge terrine (how holiday appropriate), then a lovely piece of roasted middle-white with the most delicious gravy, and ended the meal with great heaps of gingerbread ice cream.
And a whole bottle of wine with my name on it.
I cannot praise this place enough, the only reason why I'm giving it 4 stars is because the service was a bit slow...so slow in fact that I got up and sliced my own bread from the stock loaf sitting next to our table (don't judge me). All in all, I would attribute the perhaps slight lack of attention to the packed holiday crowd and would definitely come back again during quieter times in the year.
I've also heard their lunches were quite fabulous as well, time to book!
On a misty, misserly autumn evening full of threatened drizzle and pavement leaf crunch the Magdalen engulfs you like that warm cozy welcoming local pub you know you can't have because you live in London.
Warm walls in deepest goulash line the handsome old boozer, now a fully functioning restaurant. The front bar hosts sofas for hopeful walk up and could possibly function as a working local pub, if mine smelt as nice as this though I'd never leave. The back room and the upstairs are table filled. White paper cloth and excellent lighting brighten the space.
My guest started with a superb cauliflower soup. Admittedly it had more butter and cream pumped through it than strictly necessary but that worked wonders for both richness and texture... Nutty ribsticking goodness, the surface studded with roast garlic and tiny florets of cauli rested on a thick slick of autumnal comfort.
I went for a dish of fried calves brain with a mustardy, egg mayonaisey gribeche as much because I've never seen it on a menu before. It was challenging, more for the concept than the texture or flavour. Barely discernable lobes came as three breadcrumb fried patties, had it not been for the menu I might have been eating a subtly flavoured soft cheese, foie gras-like in texture. A little bland and pappy, the herby mayonnaise gave it a necessary bite, but I could have done with smaller patties, and a higher concentration of breadcrumb. The voice in my head proved a slight distraction, like having someone remind you about stillborn chicken embryos mid boiled egg.
Mains were mostly meaty, other than a student standby potato and cheese pie in a puff pastry, saved from sanctimoniousness by deleriously good Ardrahan cheese oozing healthily through and a side salad of refreshingly different dandilion.
I flatly refused to share any of my beef cheek. Braised for what tasted like days in a girolle and onion reduction, sweet and tender meaty puck nestled in a smooth Jerusalem artichoke puree. The only complaint was on the texture, the meat fell apart when you showed it a fork and the whole thing, delicious as it tasted, was smoother than Justin Beiber's PR machine.
By now flushed with an excellent house red and coming close to satiation. Quince crumble, a pear and almond tart and other desserts were sadly a little too wintry to tempt. They do however have some excellent salted caramel chocolates that slid down perfectly with coffee.
Overall, Magdalen is a great example of the perfect local restaurant. Friendly service, faultless cooking of good ingredients and the feel good equivalent of a laugh with a great mate, it's certainly somewhere I'll be back to again and again.
Food was very good and I can strongly recommend the calvados and apple juice apéritif.
The staff were friendly and were both polite and discrete when I managed to spill wine over the table - the waiter came over with a warm smile and covered it with a napkin then we carried on with our meal.
Perfect for a quiet dinner and a chat.
Roger Faulks co-owns this restaurant who is apparently very renowned amongst food critics and those who know good food when they taste it. Serving a combination of traditional English and French cuisine, Magdalen despite being located on the busy Tooley Street has a secluded, cosy vibe once inside. The decor comprises of wood with soft, rounded edges and leather seating. Of course, it is all very well having a lovely interior but the proof is in the pudding as they say (and the puddings are gorgeous). The menu is constantly updated with added little surprises every day so that even if you are a regular, you will likely be able to experience something different on every visit. I loved the sea bass but the traditional meat option which my friend opted for, was also delicious. The food is bought fresh from Borough Market so it is of the highest quality.
The prices are above average at around £16 for a main but you also have the option of a set menu which works out a great deal cheaper at 3 courses for £18 for lunch.
Pretty average lunch here today to be honest. I had snails with bone marrow to start followed by fish stew, and apple and prune crumble for dessert.
The crumble was ace but both the snails and the fish stew were shockingly under-seasoned. And there was no salt on the table to rectify the situation. The wine was nice though
When I read the email inviting me to sample the food at Magdalen on Tooley Street, SE1, my heart skipped a beat. I used to live just down the road of this restaurant when I was a student and on my way to work I would always read the menu and on my way back in the evening I would glance jealously at the diners. I was desperate to try it, I thought it looked great, but never had enough money at this stage of my life. Then I moved away and didn't think about it anymore. Now, the invite.'Yes, I want to try it, thank you very much'.
I prayed my expectations, which were rather high I have to say, would be met, and in fact they were even exceeded. Magdalen is a rare find in London. If Magdalen(a) was a woman, she would be a classy, sophisticated and modest lady. In restaurant terms this means high quality, extremely civilized and utterly unpretentious.
I really loved the simple but sophisticated food, the elegant atmosphere, the charming service and last but not least the nice selection of inexpensive wines. The only reason why I think Magdalen is not filled with people (it was half empty on a Saturday evening) is the fact that it is in the no man's land between the posh Shad Thames, buzzing Bermondsey Street and London Bridge with its Borough Market. If you don't happen to walk to work along Tooley Street, there is absolutely no reason for you to be there. So I assume, even though it's only about 7 minutes walk from London Bridge, random customers are rare. But let me assure you, I have lived in this area for almost 5 years and have probably tried most restaurants and next to Zucca in Bermondsey Street, Magdalen is certainly your best choice here.
The cooking here has a distinctly British influence. One of the specials was brawn and there were several other offal based dishes on the menu. I am not big on offal apart from everything that has to do with liver pate or terrine.
That's why I had to try one of the pre-starters, Chicken liver toast (1.50). Creamy, smooth and luscious chicken liver came on a crispy ciabatta, very delicious indeed.
Devon crab salad (£9.50) was lovely. I often find crab meat too overpowering and sweet, this one however ticked all the boxes. It tasted fresh, summery and light together with the tomatoes and the pea shoots.
Very tasty was also the Pigeon and Foie Gras Terrine (8). The gamey pigeon and the rich, livery foie gras were perfectly complemented by the lush Armagnac prunes, a simple but all the more accomplished dish.
My runner up of the evening was the Braised Hereford beef (15.50) which came with stewed tomatoes and sprigs of rosemary swimming in a sea of snow white polenta. The polenta had a perfectly creamy consistency and the beef was 'falling apart' tender, releasing all its beautiful flavours.
My winner however was a special of the evening, Wild black bream (£17.00) which came immersed in a thick crab bisque. The fish was cooked to perfection and I loved the combination of the strong seafood broth, the anis-like flavour of the fennel and the fresh, creamy and garlicky aioli.
As you can see, Magdalen is not doing large portions and if you are a big eater this might leave you unsatisfied. I appreciate small portions however as it leaves space for dessert. We followed the waiters recommendation and ordered French toast with blueberries and vanilla ice cream (6.50). Hot blueberries and velvety, melting vanilla ice cream is a winning combination per se but another dimension was added by the almost savoury toast of cake-like texture. Maybe not the best dessert in the world but very decent indeed.
We move on to the cheese of the 5 cheeses on the menu we went for the 3 British ones which were served with a wonderful quince jelly. I like strong cheeses but these were almost too strong for me. I would have preferred probably if at least one of them had been a bit milder. The Tymsboro clearly was the strongest goat's cheese I have ever had the pleasure to sample, it almost tasted like blue cheese. Having said all that, I really can't complain about the cheese platter, the quality and taste was impeccable.
Magdalen is not cheap but if you have a chance pop by at least for the incredibly good value set lunches (Mon-Fri, 3 courses £18.50, 2 courses £15.50). I have the feeling you will not regret it :)
Photos and more here:
I stumbled upon Magdalen one evening when my mom was in town for a visit- we were staying at the London Bridge Hotel around the corner. We managed to get a table on a Friday night, but I recommend booking ahead because they were almost at full capacity when we arrived.
The structure of the restaurant made it feel like we were dining in an old restored home. Although the restaurant is cozy, it is distinctly elegant as well.
My mom and I ordered a half bottle of Costieres De Nimes, Perrieres,Marc Kreydenweiss, 2008 from Rhone, France. (I liked it so much that I saved the wine menu to remember it, and of course so I could Yelp about it..haha)
We shared the smoked mackerel to start, which was excellent. We then both ordered the sea bass for our mains; it came with white beans on the bottom, the combination was perfection. It was cooked very well and is perhaps one of the best fish meals I've ever had.
For dessert we had the french toast- The waiter recommended it and I gave him a hard time as he teased me/all Americans for thinking french toast is a breakfast food that we douse in maple syrup, but I definitely ate my hat after that one. It was a small piece of french toast, slightly crisp on the top, with a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream. It was to die for, I really can't describe it except for that my waiter was not mistaken, it is nothing like our American breakfast french toast.
Lovely atmosphere, lovely food and lovely people. Great neighborhood find, friendly service and good fresh food expertly prepared.
I came here for a work lunch and it was perfectly ok! It didn't particularly wow me, and at it's price it's not something I will probably be going back for. Also, although I'm not a vegetarian did notice they had a terrible selection for non-meat eaters!
Delightful place. Staff a bit pleased with themselves, but the food, for the price, was superb. In the locale are chain restaurants with little difference in price. Please go here instead. If you need more 'celebrity' reviews, look at the reviews from luminaries on their website. Excellent value for super, well-cooked, food.
The Frenchest place I've been to outside of France. Really good French food, reasonbly priced, lovely atmosphere and service. Especially recommend the fish stew - kind of boulliabaisse-ish but not boulliabaisse. Great place and will return.
Went here with a group of nine for dinner on Friday.
Good food and drink, but slightly more expensive than I would have expected - about £50 a head all in. eg slightly cheeky to charge for side veg on a £30 three course set menu.
If the menu's the same at lunch and cheaper, there's bargain to be had.
Magdalen features hearty British cuisine in a relaxed and unassuming setting near London Bridge. With a daily changing menu from chefs with real pedigree, the food is a class act, with friendly and professional service to match.
Amazing! A great dining experience! We were treated so kindly, every dish was absolutely delishous and enjoyable. We even tipped on top of the service charge. Don't really care if it is supposed to be brithish or French. It is good! Go there! Prices are totally reasonable.