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Sunday, 28 February 2010

Aquum: O Neill's, Clapham


‘What crisis?’ - as idiot savant/ daddy's girl Stella (Marie-Antoinette) McCartney reportedly said at her Paris catwalk show - might sum up the prevailing spendthrift attitude in Cla’am where new DJ bar Aquum (pictured) is already rammed to its blingy, Swarovski crystal-strung rafters. So popular are its molecular mix cocktails, the cassis perles that apparently make its kir royale stand out from rival pretenders have run out. Real gold flakes inform the house bellini,  but in the gloaming - and having foolishly neglected to pack my torch - I can’t detect any. Still, it tastes fine; as does a spumy, moss-tone, mango-y, mojito-ish job in a martini glass, one of many crowd-pleasers offered. Giving the critical mauling Aquum’s interior got in an evening rag, I anticipate a Jodie Marsh-y horror show, but referencing various uptown haunts like The Sanderson, its white gauze, cream leather banquette, high stools, and backlit onyx are stylish enough in a kind of Girls Aloud way. Is this what drew Ashley Cole, spotted here, according to a PR, while the missus was up a mountain? With one eye on footballers’  Amex Centurions, there’s a VIP suite upstairs, while civilians get to party below until all hours sustained by Med and Asian share platters. Who is Aquum’s target customer? From the pong pimp in the loos’ display - Eternity, Joop and similar Superdrudgy brands - not me; but fine for SW4. Contrast this with the less than fragrant O’ Neill’s up the street. A gloomy pile that’s part of a chain, it offers a ‘Taste of Ireland.’ Well, ‘cancel my Aer Lingus reservations, Moneypenny!’ To the Zutons’ droning Valerie and an odour from grim loos that suggests your senile great-auntie Val’s bloomers, I nurse a warm gin and sit, stony-faced beneath a chirpy slogan: ‘A light heart lives longest’. On that basis, I’ll be dead within minutes.

Aquum, 68 -70 Clapham High St SW4 7627 2726


O’Neill’s,  196 Clapham High St, SW4 7498 4931