The Actress, East Dulwich

The Actress, a new pub just around the corner from me, used to be called The Uplands. It was a bit of a dive. I’d often walk past on Saturday lunchtimes and there would be 3 or 4 customers nursing pints around a solitary table. I went in, once. It was one of those pubs that had a brilliant location in its favour and nothing else.

Transformed, it is now part of a clan which includes Saarf East staples The Bishop in East Dulwich, The Florence in Herne Hill and the recently opened Victoria Inn in Peckham.

She’s quite the looker now, The Actress but the real sight for sore eyes is the pizza oven. The whole interior has been re-furbished, sure; new paint, new furniture, new bar yadda yadda yadda but like I said, there’s a pizza oven. A monstrous furnace. I’d received an invitation to come over and play with it and seriously, who doesn’t want to do that? Making pizza at home is fine and all but the conventional oven isn’t capable of reaching the temperatures required to cook it properly and I’m not about to come over all Steingarten and start ‘modifying’ it myself.

The evening was about experimenting and having fun. We would play around with different toppings, from classics already in-house to the ridiculous, brought in by us lot.

First onto the paddle was one of my favourites – a white pizza with potato slices. This version came pepped with oozy Stilton. Although I thought the slices of potato should be cut much thinner (on a mandolin) and overlapped, I was happy to see an often forgotten topping make an appearance. Carb on carb, it rocks.

We then had a go at pimping our own, with varying degrees of success. I’d been too disorganised to find an ingredient to bring along, so I shamelessly gate-crashed Lizzie’s samphire instead. We ended up with a decadent combination of crab, samphire, ricotta and chilli. Great flavours but sadly, not great pizza.

Straight from the horror box: haggis and potato. I’ve tried it so you don’t have to. See? See what I’ll do for you in the name of research? It was like eating an offaly shepherd’s pie – on a pizza. Just a bit of a laugh on our part though, and definitely not one for the menu, don’t worry.

Highlights for me were meaty; a chorizo pizza was topped with two types, one skinned and crumbled and the other sliced. It was fun and generous. People will always want a spicy meat pizza. Personally I always want one with anchovy, capers and olives.

We shoved every topping going in and out of that oven, including a comedy calzone: someone’s sweaty Star Bar wrapped in a pizza base, which melted into gooey, peanut-studded wrongness. It felt dirty. It was great.

The Actress opens on Monday, and I’m sure they’ll have their recipes well and truly down by then. There will be more than pizza, too. We made quick work of some lamb, scorched and sizzling from the ferocious heat of the wood oven, juices preserved within. Cider-braised spicy ribs provoked moans of pleasure; forcefully spiced with a strong apple flavour. The meat flopped off the bone in huge, sticky chunks.

The Actress is going to make an absolute killing in this location. It sits at the corner of Crystal Palace Road and North Cross Road, which anyone who lives in East Dulwich knows is permanently rammed with yummy mummies and annoyingly beautiful and well-off people. They are going to lap this place up. If it’s not rammed to the rafters in the next few weeks then I’ll eat another haggis pizza and film it so you can see me pay for my shoddy prediction. That is how confident I am.

The Actress
90 Crystal Palace Road
East Dulwich
SE22 9EY

Category: Bars/Pubs | Tags: , , , , 9 comments »

9 Responses to “The Actress, East Dulwich”

  1. Scott at Real Epicurean

    Kind of a shame that the haggis one didn’t work out :(

  2. Anne Bowers

    now we will have to do a taste test Actress vs Gowlett…

  3. david pink

    my brother just lives round the corner from you will you still dobed and
    breakfast because we come down to london 2 to3 times a year could
    please let me know thank you

  4. Wen

    Tried a pizza topped with nettle leaves this past summer. Really worked. Samphire holds promise I reckon. Maybe with a different combination.

  5. scott

    Morning David,
    not doing B&B until next year, but do have 18 rooms here

    10 min walk to easy dulwich….

  6. Sue Whitehead

    Is there a website yet?

    If not, is the Actress menu online anywhere?

  7. Helen

    Hi Sue, website isn’t ready yet but Scott just sent over a menu, here it is.

    garlic flat bread, with olive oil & smoked salt 3.50 V
    flat bread, olive oil & smoked salt, 3 V
    corn on the cob with parmesan, paprika & lime 4 V
    trealy farm meat platter 9
    british cheese board 6 V
    spicy chorizo baked with ham & beans 5 /8
    cider braised pork ribs 6 /9
    aubergine roasted with chickpeas, mozzarella & parmesan 4.5 /8 V
    whole sea bream, baked with lemon & herbs 12
    roast rump of lamb and potato & onion bake 14


    buffalo mozzarella, tomato and fresh basil 7 V
    collar of pork, buff mozza, tomato and garlic mushrooms 8
    beetroot, ricotta, goat’s cheese, sweetcorn & pea shoots 8 V
    chilli beef, roast vine tomatoes, white onion and lord of the 100’s 8
    chorizo, buff mozza, roast peppers, tomato, fennel sausage & pecorino 9
    rosemary potatoes, roast garlic and stilton 7 V

    for available slices please see the chalk walls


    smoked chicken caesar with a poached egg 9
    brocolli, cucumber, poppy seed & chilli 8 V
    beetroot, goat’s cheese & spring onion salad 8 V
    mixed salad 4/8 V

    side all 3

    warm potato salad with gherkins & capers
    sweetcorn, tomato & coriander salad
    sage roasted pumpkin
    bobby beans


    chocolate banana split pizza (folded) 4.5
    ice creams 1.5 per scoop

  8. Aija Siitonen

    Is your B&B open and running> I have family comig for xmas, are you open around xmas

  9. Helen

    There is no B & B at The Actress but The Victoria in SE15 does.

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