Archive for November 22nd, 2008

Broome & Delancey a US diner in Battersea?…

My ‘career’ as a restaurant reviewer for LawandMore continues, and pleasurably so.  Last Tuesday evening  I left The Boat in Chelsea, crossed Battersea Bridge,  and found myself in Battersea Rise at Broome & Delancey at 8.00 on the dot ready to eat good food, drink a decent wine and be a restaurant reviewer once more.  I had been offered the opportunity to review a restaurant in London’s Mayfair – but Battersea, frankly, seemed to me a better bet and, quite possibly, more fun. No money was harmed during the production of this review.  The role of restaurant reviewer is pro bono and carries no ‘honorarium’ – not even a right to herd sheep across a London bridge.

So there I was, last Tuesday night, wearing my trusty Australian Driza–Bone®, being led to the cocktail bar on the right of the entrance by one of the highly efficient and very pleasant crew; accompanied by a very good friend of mine who hails from South Africa and who knows a thing or two about biltong and cooking.  His knowledge of wine, from personal and regular consumption, was also helpful.

Broome & Delancey describes itself as follows: “Named after two of Manhattan’s most vibrant and eclectic streets, Broome & Delancey combines Parisian glamour with New York vitality. Situated on Battersea Rise near Clapham Common, this classic yet contemporary restaurant features a striking open plan kitchen, two attractive dining spaces, an al fresco terrace and a dedicated cocktail and wine bar.”

I  shall return to the food and the wine later. Tania, from Lithuania,  who had done five years training as a cocktail barwoman,  asked us what we would like to have. Regular readers of my blog will know that apart from the odd shot of grappa (and the very occasional brandy / vodka / gin / double malt whisky / bourbon / naval rum) I do not tend to drink spirits.  I was, however, in an extremely well equipped cocktail bar, complete with stainless steel shakers – and it just had to be a cocktail from their extensive list.  I felt mildly piratical that evening so, passing on the traditional ‘Martini’, I asked Tania for something rum based. It was like being back at university in a geochemistry laboratory, which I studied as a part of a geophysics course before changing to Law.  I watched as Tania poured strawberry juice, rum, various other extracts, juices and potions into a glass, slotted the glass into the metal shaker, shook it about – a wonderful performance in itself –  and then delivered, with crushed ice,  a drink of fabulous flavours and a decent level of potency.  Mint was added and a straw… but… no umbrella.

I have absolutely no idea what Johnny Biltong, as I will call my South African friend, had – but it put a smile on his face. Mea culpa – I forgot to take a note and, as I write, he is entertaining himself somewhere in London, so I cannot consult him.The cocktail list is extensive.

We were then collected by a very amusing waiter and taken to our table by the window. I noted the heaters affixed to the walls on the outside of the restaurant – and a seating area.  This would prove most useful to both of us for a bit of serial smoking later in the evening.

The service was exceptional – and, most important, friendly and amusing.  Ben, the manager for our evening, a lively New Zealander, came over to chat and told us about the restaurant.  Even though the staff knew that *I* was doing a ‘review’ – I can assure you that everyone else in the restaurant (which was pretty busy in these credit-crunch times) got the same friendly and excellent service.

I have never eaten at a restaurant combining ‘Parisian glamour’ and ‘New York vitality’ – so I was looking forward to the experience of straddling two great continents in food terms. The food is good.  A sensibly restricted menu offers sufficient choice for carnivore, fish eater and vegetarian alike and was good.

I am a great fan of liver, bacon, onions and mash.  My problem is that I like the liver  to be cremated.  I asked our friendly waiter if Chef would be happy to do it ‘well done’.  I did not mention the *Cremation* word.  Chef was happy to cook to the customer’s requirements, I was assured.  I was very tempted.  On a cold winter’s night – liver and mash can do the business.  I decided, however, to go for something a bit more subtle – a chicken paillard – basically, a chicken breast pounded with a rolling pin until it is a lot thinner.  In this case, the chicken paillard was excellent; moist, infused with rational amounts of herbs,  and it tasted like good chicken.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Johnny Biltong did not surprise me in his choice.  Perhaps used to raw or air dried meat,  and not having consumed enough of the stuff since breakfast that morning, he went for the Broome & Delancey rib-eye steak and chips.  Very few chefs can mess up a steak – and he enjoyed his. A very generous portion.  It was, for me, quite amusing to see him struggle to eat it all.

Prices are pub gastro level ranging from £5-6 pounds for very good starters (We had tiger prawns and an exceptional smoked salmon) to £9-16.50 for the mains. The puddings, also rather good – particularly the chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce –  are priced at £5.50. I have to say that three courses was a bit of a challenge for me – I am maintaining a slim look this season – because the portions are generous.

So what did we have to drink? The wine list is sensible and fairy eclectic.  I make a point of always drinking the house wine when I do reviews, even if something more generous is offered. A decent restaurant will always offer a sensibly priced good house wine. Delancey & Broome followed this tradition.   I enjoyed the bottle of house red. I can’t show you the wine list – because they don’t seem to have it in pdf format.  Usual suspects well represented.

And so… to the pleasures of being in a restaurant and, more particularly, this restaurant

Unfortunately the Broome & Delancey website has gone for pictures of an empty restaurant.  This is usual with restaurants, but a pity – because the restaurant is far better looking in the flesh than it is in the stylish photographs on the website.

Johnny Biltong was surprised, as I was, to find that the restaurant was pretty busy on a cold Tuesday evening in credit-crunch Britain.  The atmosphere was good.  I have no idea if I felt particularly Parisian or whether I felt I could be in New York.  That didn’t matter – we were able to nip out for a cigarette in the heated seating area outside – the aluminium chairs were a bit cold – and return to find napkins folded and the table tidied by the stealthy staff.  The restaurant had a good feel to it – chatting friends, couples – an eclectic mix. The place felt relaxed and enjoyable to be in – and that, for me and many others, is important.

I end, to reflect the New York diner theme, by quoting a famous American – W C Fields who remarked: “A woman drove me to drink, and I’ll be a son-of-a-gun but I never even wrote to thank her.”

I would certanly go to Broome & Delancey again.  I can see why it is popular with locals – so, if you fancy a reasonably inexpensive night out – a good cocktail, some good food and excellent service – try Broome & Delancey.  Bring a bit of Paris and New York into your life? Not sure about that one – but it was a good place to spend an evening in – and the other diners seems to be enjoying themselves.

This review will also appear on the LawandMore website at some point next week.

Broome & Delancey: 35-37 Battersea Rise, London, SW11 1HG  Phone: 020 7228 9400   Fax: 020 7990 9968

The head chef at Broome & Delancey is Wyatt Shevloff. Initially based on the West Coast of Canada in the Rocky Mountains, Wyatt has worked throughout Asia and Europe during his career. His most recent post in London was as Opening Chef for All Star Lanes. Wyatt’s passion for honest, classic food and his enthusiasm for launching new venues will deliver a premium dining experience at B&D.

Opening Hours
Mon: CLOSED | Tues-Fri: Noon-Midnight
Sat: 9am-midnight | Sun: 9am-10:30pm

You may find three courses too much – go for two and you must try the cocktails.  They are good.


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