Dining in Wandsworth [London]
Friends moving to the area in August; any recommendations for dining in the area? Also need some child-friendly spots too. Thanks very mch!
Yes, Chez Bruce is far and away the best, and not as expensive as many fine restaurants. A few steps down but still very enjoyable are Lola Rojo for Spanish food in Northcote Road, Battersea, and the Prince of Wales gastropub in Putney. There's also Tom Ilic and an Argentine restaurant in Queenstown Road which I haven't been to but is meant to be excellent.
Child-friendly - well, the area known as Between the Commons is so child-friendly that single adults like me feel quite left out! Crumpet and the Northcote Patisserie are both packed with kids, and are for tea and lunch rather than dinner.
Bizarrely, only got round to eating at Chez Bruce last year and found it a little flat, guess I'd just built it up too much in my head...'solid', as you say! Lola Rojo is really good I think. There's also a branch of Mien Tay on Lavender Hill. For Balham, look up around britain with a paunch - he lives down that way, some great sounding curry houses for a start. Can I bang the drum for Crystal Palace too? We've just moved in and the triangle seems like one big restaurant - Numidie is a lovely French/Moroccan brasserie, Al Torre is a bustly Portugese family affair, Mediterraneo does authentic Sardinian, Joanna's is a very competent brasserie and the Exhibition Rooms a solid gastropub (and Time Out local restaurant 2009, no less). 4 stops on the train from Balham, 6 from Wandworth.
I used to live in the middle of Wandsworth and now just round the corner.
Chez Bruce is fantastic. Been quite a few times and loved it every time i do think it helps it's on my doorstep.
I'd recommend Artisan and Wine on St Johns Hill. v. freindly, knowledgeable staff and a great less mainstream wine selection.
If you're into curry jump on a bus down to Tooting - my personnal favourite is Apollo Banana Leaf, but they're all good. Masaledar is a bit smarter after the refit.
Pub food - the Alma is good, as is the East Hill.
I could keep going - it's a great base for some good eating.
Have lived in the area for two years without much culinary exploration, so we've made it our new year's resolution to try a new place once a week.
This week's choice was Dish Dash, a Persian place on Bedford Hill in Balham. Menus are on the paper placemats, Wagamama-style, and the waiter circles the things you've ordered. Only today, Bank Holiday Monday, he crossed off 5 dishes they'd run out of by 2pm. We decided to order "Persian-style", as the menu has it, with a number of small dishes rather than a main course.
My koulouche (like cheese borek) were oily but nice and tangy, an aubergine dip was cold from the fridge, tabbouleh was fine, and fish kebabs were slightly dry and overcooked. His lamb stew, cotlett, kobideh kebab were tasty, I'm told.
Service was so slow, there being only one waiter, and the phone rang constantly without being answered.
Overall, it was fine but an inauspicious start to our journey. I wouldn't return. Have high hopes of the new Georgian place that has just opened opposite Clapham South.
Incidentally, some recent favourites have been Balham Bowls Club, Cafe du Village (for overall experience and ambience rather than just food, which was no stranger to the microwave) and Chez Bruce's incredible value lunch - something like £30 a head for 3 courses, though we managed to bump that up significantly with wine and coffee... Though I'm not sure I'd be so thrilled to pay the dinner price. As mentioned above, I'd describe it as "solid" rather than spectacular.
Onwards! Any suggestions welcome.
Well, there's the Vietnamese Mien Tay on Lavender Hill, near the BAC, which is good and excellent value. Also Donna Margerita (I think that's the name) opposite the BAC: really good pizza and nice Italian antipasti.
Brew in Northcote Road serves delicious breakfast and lunches, though I consider it over-priced. It's not open in the evening. Don't bother with Tamra (replaced Boiled Egg and Soldiers), which is scarcely mediocre.
I look forward to hearing about the Georgian restaurant.
re: Jenny Sheridan
Mien Tay is this week's choice, and the lazy bf is away next week so I might rouse myself early and try the Georgian for breakfast.
Thinking about this some more, I've realised I've eaten in far more places in the area than I remembered - I might have to categorise rather than type out recollections as they come to me!
Mien Tay didn't have a table on the day we wanted to go, so we went to Buona Sera on Northcote Road which fell firmly into the mediocre Italian category, with Marzano and Vito's. Fried calamari and zucchini was fine though the large plateful would have benefited from a dip or a sauce or garnish to break up the fried flavour. A seafood linguine was quite dull, but how much can one complain when a bowl of pasta is only £7? Service was disorganised and slow, but for a quick dinner before going drinking in Clapham I suppose one could do worse (Marzano, for example).
The week's success story just sneaks into Wandsworth - The Earl Spencer in Southfields. Doesn't look like much, being located opposite a self-storage facility on Merton Road and with a strong smell of stale frying oil outside: luckily the smell comes from elsewhere! A big bare room inside with pine table and wonky chairs, completely packed at 2pm on a Sunday.
Starters were half a dozen oysters or half a pint of prawns. We shared some prawns, most of which had roe attached and which were great with lemon, aioli and a big slab of very hearty brown bread. £7 I think.
My main of rabbit was a leg cooked in a white wine broth with celery, carrots, bacon (big thick chunks of really smoky, slaty stuff) with oyster mushrooms, served with mash and a nice sweet kale. Other options around the table were a huge hunk of roast pork with root veg mash and finely shreded cabbage and bacon, and a beatifully rare roast beef. Would have liked to try the puddings but didn't have time. Very good - don't know what other dining options there are in the area but I'd guess that this slots in somewhere near the top.
Had a late Sunday breakfast at The Georgian on Balham Hill. White washed walls, mismatched pine furniture, a counter full of fabulous-looking cakes. His mocha came in the cup equivalent of a pint glass, and my double macchiato may have been the strongest coffee I've ever had in London. Not the best-tasting - not a rich, deep enough taste for me - but it certainly woke me up!
My blini filled with scrambled egg and smoked sausage was fine, though I would have liked some kind of spicy sauce or even brown sauce as it was a little bland. The star of the show was his egg, minced beef and mushroom casserole, the name of which escapes me and which was far better than it sounds! Nice and warming and spicy, with a few slices of toast to scoop it up.
A nutty, flaky pastry and a fresh orange juice brought the grand total up to £22. A great place for breakfast, something Clap South really needs. Will definitely go back to try the lunch menu.
Went back for breakfast at the weekend, and my goodness the service was awful! It took as long to get a coffee as it did to get a full Georgian breakfast, and they forgot a number of sauces and other bits and pieces. My bf's brother ordered some mushrooms to go with his full Georgian, and I think they had to nip out to Tesco to get some as they arrived literally 15 mins after we'd all finished eating. In their defence, there were no mushrooms on the menu, but I think in that situation it would be best for them to say no, no?
Anyway the food was great - the ajika, a sort of salsa/relish which I think is made from garlic, fresh coriander and a lot of chilli was so delicious.
Then lunch at the Balham Bowls Club was hopeless, which is a great shame as I'd had a good dinner there before. Service again was laughably bad, and the roast was disappointing. Quite a small portion of meat, the same gravy for each meat (so clearly not made from the juices) and the same vegetables. Soggy roast potatoes, a meagre serving of cabbage, and w hite bean puree which might have been ok with the chicken but didn't go with anything else, and which was sorely underseasoned.
The dinner at Pizza Metro on Battersea Rise (not all on the same day!). The only busy place on a Wednesday night. Starters of fried calamari and fried zucchini and aubergine was brilliant - hot and crisp and salty and fresh. Really good. Pixxas weer a little disappointing, given the quality of the starters and the reputation of the restaurant. Tomato sauce was watery, the middle of the pizza was soggy and sloppy, and the sausage and roman green pizza was just vile - really cabbage-pongy. We ate one slice, left the rest, and the waiter didn't even comment. Hey ho. Would probably go back and stick to the tomato-based, unadventurous pizzas, if someone else chose the restaurant.
Went to Tom Ilic last night for the first time and not overly impressed. I had a seared mackerel fillet with horseradish souffle - nice enough, but not the flavour explosion you might expect from those two ingredients. Then a lamb degustation with chop, shoulder, some black pudding and apple...again, OK, but no cigar.
Well kept cheese to close but was left with the impression of an OK local standby for dinner, nothing more.
123 Queenstown Road, London SW8 3RH, GB
re: helen b
That's a shame, I was quite looking forward to trying it.
Another good steak at Santa Maria del Sur, though I do wish they'd add some more non-protein options, and some more inventive vegetable side orders. Still the meat was brilliant, properly charred on the outside and lovely and moist and tender and tasty on the inside - and that is the point of the place, after all!