Croydon’s evolution from suburban outpost to one of London’s main city commuter hubs is unmissable.

While office skyscrapers have long dotted the area’s skyline since, modern, Straftord-esque, residential tower blocks have been popping up at a furious pace in recent times offering accommodation and home ownership for city slickers priced out of central London. And more developments are to come.

These blocks aren’t for everyone and come with a set of issues for the neighbourhood to solve. Regardless, Croydon’s metamorphosis is well and truly underway whether you like it or not.

Your Local Guardian: Fern opened in March this yearFern opened in March this year (Image: Fern)

Ten Degrees is one such new building. At 135 metres tall, it currently wins the tallest building in Croydon race. However a pair of new residential towers – with more than 930 new flats – on College Road will take that accolade once completed, standing at 150 metres.

Seemingly designed for the post-pandemic worker, Ten Degrees has expensive apartments for rent but perhaps reasonable for London, communal and co-working spaces, and even a dog salon for all those pampered canines purchased in lockdown. It also has Fern, an all-day dining restaurant emblematic of new Croydon.

Your Local Guardian: The restaurant is housed in one of Croydon's new residential developmentsThe restaurant is housed in one of Croydon's new residential developments (Image: Fern)

Found on ground level, Fern opened in March this year and the Croydon newcomer endeavours to bring a little bit of city swank to the suburbs.

It is exactly what you would expect a restaurant found at street level of a swish new apartment tower to be. Staff are friendly and know what they are doing. Bricks are exposed, lighting and structural beams overhead are also not hidden away. The bar is back lit and date night ready.

Gold touches and a whopping big chandelier add bling to another wise laidback, clean lined interior drenched in natural light thanks to the floor to ceiling windows on all three sides.

Your Local Guardian: The cocktail is long, and covers pretty much all basesThe cocktail is long, and covers pretty much all bases (Image: Fern)

Also befitting the locale, the menu is designed to be shared, and it is hefty, split into three sections. The cocktail and drinks list are also extensive and contain all the spritzes, highballs and alcohol-free options your thirsty little heart desires.

Due to a miscommunication (mine), I managed to order everything on the plant-based menu like a greedy pig. Good to know, if you are a non-meat eater, you won’t leave hungry nor feel like your diner options have been curtailed.

Dishes were simple, but good. Our table was filled with colour; verdant roasted padron peppers rolled in truffle honey sat next to a fresh tri-colour heritage tomato salad tossed with a fragrant, herbaceous basil dressing which was uncomplicated but utterly delicious.

Your Local Guardian: All day dining restaurant, Fern serves up sharing platesAll day dining restaurant, Fern serves up sharing plates (Image: Fern)

The standout dish was a rainbow carrot salad loaded with crunchy radish and beansprouts, bulked out with quinoa and dressed in an umami soy and sesame dressing that made you want to forget your table manners and slurp up the dregs straight from the bowl.

Golden and crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle, the roasted spuds were a treat, and the baked sweet potato halves topped with fried onions, feta and a vegan truffle aioli were also unfussy but good.  

The pan of polenta littered with roasted chickpeas and blanched green beans was both creamy and crunchy, and you can never really go wrong with roasted tenderstem, however it comes.

Your Local Guardian: Dishes are colourful and flavoursomeDishes are colourful and flavoursome (Image: Fern)

The sweet potato gnocchi wasn’t actually gnocchi, rather a heavy sweet potato dough covered in a gloop of mushroom and circled by a bright orange-coloured puree.

The residential towers blocks coming Croydon’s way may not be to everyone’s taste. But with the variety of dishes Fern offers, it’s bound to have something that suit yours.

Address: Ten Degrees, 100a George Street, CR0 1GP