Amongst the things to like about Magdalen is the range on the menu. If you want 'basic' good food, there's potted crab as well as Italian greens and good old hot foie gras. Feeling a little more adventurous, pigeon and partridge terrine is on the set lunch menu and Hereford snails and bone marrow on toast a la carte. That's just the starters.
For the mains, there's a range of fish dishes (cod, lemon sole, sea bass), some big comfort food (Longhorn beef and suet pie and rib of beef) and for a little bit more adventure, grilled ox heart. The restaurant itself resides on Tooley Street and has a corner location with a modest bearing; you could be forgiven for walking right past it even if you were looking for it, not least as the name over the front window is in the shadow of a plain blue canopy. Inside meanwhile it's polished wooden floors and trusty wooden chairs, white table cloths and a well stocked bar. With windows on three aspects, the place has a light airy feel.
Quite full, we skipped dessert and took the bill which including a pre lunch gin and tonic each came to £76 in total, less than what we had paid at the famed gastro-pub The Gun just a few days earlier for a similar format meal. Of the two, this was definitely the better meal and would be our preferred venue to return to. Our only quibble with the lunch was the pedestrian rate of service. With an early booking, the restaurant, at least initially, was quite empty but the food took some time to arrive and we did get fidgety towards the end with all the waiting around. Maybe we just looked like people who weren't in a hurry (which was actually the case). Had the service been a little quicker, maybe I would have had a run at a dessert.
Overall though, we like Magdalen. We like the menu, we like the food and we like the value for money it offers. British food with continental borrowings and a seasonal menu, it delivers on what it promises and we enjoyed our visit there once again. Tooley Street SE1 is always going to be off the beaten track for most but if you do find yourself in or around the area, Magdalen is certainly worth a look in for good honest food.