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Nov 16, 2000 07:10 AM

looking for quiet + decent wine list in SW London

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looking for a quiet, shadowy place - but the emphasis is on intrigue, not seduction. plus a good wine list, decent food, unobtrusive service. any thoughts?

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    Simon Majumdar

    Ah There you are!

    A few suggestions

    1) Riva in Barnes. A great fave and great food

    2) I am rather fond of Putney Bridge ( by Putney Bridge, rather luckily for the people who named it )

    3) The Brakenbury ( more Hammersmith than strictly SW but wonderful )

    Of the three, Riva would be my first choice

    If you are in that area there is also another place worth trying on the Upper Richmond Road is The Pope's Eye. An excellent steak place with a good wine list. No cards Accepted.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Simon Majumdar

      Plus it's neither quiet, nor intriguey! Though it is in Southwest London...and the wine list is OK...I really thought you were a man of taste and high standards! I can't believe this lapse in judgement.

      I used to live right across the bridge from there, and believe you me, I *tried* to make it my local. But it disappointed every time - with each change (several, in two years)of chef, decor, menu...

      Enoteca on the other hand, is great - just in the process of -- or finished with -- expansion. On Putney High Street. Excellent Italian food, great service, fantastic wine list...though not dark, it's not a place Howler would be 'spotted'.

      Sounds to me like our paranoid friend Howler is in negotiations with a dot com or a publication.

      1. re: magnolia
        Simon Majumdar

        I Fi on your for shame. Putney Bridge is better than its rep and FAR FAR better than that dreary Enoteca. Whatever can you have been thinking when you wrote this?

        And as for the Cross Keys. I once went there when a previous obsession of my deviant lust had her book launch there and it was a miserable hovel of a Chelsea dump and not just because she turned out to be a right old cow.

        However, I agree with Aurora which is lovely, so I will not judge you too harshly.

        BTW. Went to a wonderful place called Alba in Whitecross St ( Just off Old St ) the other day. A modern Tuscan place with a terrific wine list and great food. I had an excellent Calfs liver pan fried with Sage which I will have to try again. The bill

        Dot com/Publishing. I think we have to come up with something better. Passing of military information or declaring undying love for soemone of the same gender would be much more fun!!!!!!!! I am not casting any aspersions by the way Howler, just conjecturing in the face of no other details :-)

        1. re: Simon Majumdar

          I stand my ground re: Enoteca - yummy food, good wine list. If dreary=a bit cramped, that will have been solved by recent expansion.

          Re: Putney Bridge - I maintain that its only redeeming feature is outdoor seating that facilitates ogling of rowers, weather permitting (ogling is impervious to weather, as are rowers...but outdoor seating is not). Other than that, the service is appalling; the bar staff, clueless. The food, extremely mediocre for the price. I tried, oh, how I tried! I wanted to like it!

          Re: Cross Keys - I fear you have unconsciously allowed your misadventure with said authoress distract you. You must return for another try! Take solace in the fact that her book probably has been remaindered and is now for sale at £1-2 on the South Bank (at the new/used book market next to the NFT)--Though I shouldn't be so smug -- my own book will most likely end its days in similar fashion, two years from now.

          Haven't been to Alba but have heard good things.

          Come to think of it, Passione (I want to say Charlotte Street? anyway, somewhere near there) is also great for Italian though it gets a zero for atmosphere.

          Re: Howler...You're right - dot com/publishing, how prosaic of me. He doth protest too much (even though he hasn't actually protested at all!) - he was too quick in pointing out that his upcoming meeting had no romantic possibilities.

          Perhaps he and Deep Throat are meeting to determine who wil be the next US president!

          1. re: magnolia
            Simon Majumdar

            Let's just agree to differ on Putney Bridge. But you are wrong by the way.

            As for Passione. Yet another date dining experience, but this time that most rare of things in the London dining scene, a second date. I was mildly disappointed with the food and profoundly diappointed with the service. The room might have well have been a bus station for all the atmosphere it offered. And all for a mere £120. At least the last time I was robbed they had the decency to use a gun.

            At least it is not that wretched place across the st, Bertorelli's. I had probably the worst meal of my entire life in that hole and my intestines grumble every time I walk past.

            Charlotte St is suffering at the moment. A few years ago when Bruce De Chavot was cooking at Interlude, it was a regular stamping ground. Now I rarely get the urge to cross Oxford St from Soho.

            I shall take solace in the hope that the aforementioned young lady will be found sobbing over her nutritional treatise marked down to 50p ONO at the South Bank soon. and I pray the same fate does not await your musings.

        2. re: magnolia

          i might as well confess - i'm trying to settle this u.s. presidential election once and for all. not that it really matters, but its a job.

          should i be the tie-breaking vote on putney bridge and, if so, will you forego the claim we indians stick together if i vote for it?

          1. re: howler

            Yes, well spend your hard-earned money at Putney Bridge - I know what I'm missing! Cast that vote & I won't accuse you of anything except bad taste - a criticism that could never be made of the President of the US (HA!)

            1. re: magnolia

              a putney bridge come to judgement .... simon, any tips of what i should order? while my taste is irreproachable ;) you risk my ordering badly (like the time i ordered dosas at india club, i must've been mad).

              1. re: howler
                Simon Majumdar

                I am not sure my delicate constitution can put up with all this competition. I am such a delicate Flower

                That being said.

                I enjoyed the Foie Gras last time. It was served three ways and came with a glass of Sauternes ( natch )

                I also had a very good duck dish which was a pan fried breast and a leg confit. It came in two servings.

                There is a set price but my only complaint ( and no this is not a sign of retreat ) was the extra charges for certain dishes which really pushed the bill up.

                Let battle commence. In the blue corner Indian ( let us not forget brotherly love Howler ) common sense. Don't forget who told you about the India Club!! In the red corner, someone who would consider going to see Moby an enjoyable experience. Nuff said.

                1. re: Simon Majumdar

                  I haven't even gone yet so I don't know if it will be an enjoyable experience! "Cut me some slack, man!"
                  Anyway I'm in tough negotiations with tomorrow night's driver re: Southall-to-Wembley. Over & out.

      2. Howler--

        Not to be nosy, but since we know nothing about you at all (except you're Indian, you used to live in NYC, and you live in an expensive nabe in London), maybe you could give those of us with boring lives back here in the States a vicarious thrill with a broad strokes overview of your intrigue...? Of course, this is all in the interest of better chow; intrigue specifics will allow us all to better advise you on where to go!

        That is, of course, unless your name really is "Howler" (like "Charo" or "Cher" or something).


        2 Replies
        1. re: Jim Leff

          it is true, i am magnificently indian and i've foresworn the canyons of gotham for this ridiculously expensive neighborhood of kensington. like all indians, i have an unbelievable ability to politic. there's a reason for that: having been under the yoke of one foreigner or the other, we indians have long learnt to be astute courtiers. so while the americans are building better mousetraps, we of the subcontinent are busy trading influence with each other. it doesn't usually get us anywhere, but it keeps us amused.

          this specific intrigue is to decide which prince should have accession once the queen .... awright, awright. i'm meeting someone who its imperative we not get caught meeting, as the fact of such a meeting immediately gives a lot away. this is probably too opaque to be of any use in suggesting appropriate fare, so i will add that plenty of skulduggery will be afoot. and i'm certain to make a few decisions i won't be proud of later, so there you go, that should help.

          so should it be game, grouse perhaps? or maybe chicken? duck would be best, but i know i cant .... and don't forget the wine!

          1. re: howler

            Ok. I've got it.

            L'Autre bistro, 5B shepherds street, mayfair W1 tel 499-4680. Right near shepahrds market. A polish/mexican place I really loved (more details when I FINALLY finish my trip notes). A small but deftly-selected wine list, mostly inexpensive, don't miss the red sancerre if they still have it. Far, far better Polish food than you can get in NYC. Excellent but non-invasive service. Very calm and charming. Greta Garbo used to love this place, and it looks the part.

            They have non-transparent windows, there's a decent amount of space between (mostly empty) tables and recorded music (good jazz) also covers up conversation, and nobody knows it...their business is mostly from the mexican consulate down the street (hence the inclusion of nominally mexican items on the menu).


        2. Aurora - not SW, but W - in Soho - dark and intrigue-y - I believe it's BYO though so you can make your own wine list! That will impress your interviewee/er.

          Cross Keys in Chelsea - just off Lordship's Place or street or whatever. Upmarket pub, decent though brief wine list. Dark at night. (Way) off the beaten track - you won't be noticed.