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Saturday, 27 February 2010

Clarendon, Holland Park: Corum, Battersea - BOTH NOW CLOSED

Straddling the border between chichi Holland Park and gritty North Kensington is The Clarendon (pictured), a smart new gastropub in premises that recently saw off gnarly old parsnip Antony Worrall-Thingamajiggy. The look - a successful mix of French baroque, English country house and the recycled contents of a 1960s skip - suggests The Clarendon is aimed at David Cameron’s Notting Hill rather than the adjacent estate whose sweet bingo-bound biddies with their stereo perms direct us there. To eat, we’re offered everything from homemade fish fingers to Châteaubriand at £45 for two, but tonight I’m in Strictly Come Cocktailing mode. Service is ditzy. Drinks are patchy. At £7.50, I expect better than an over-sweet margarita presented with a round of lemon (sacrilege!) and a too tart daiquiri. Date has no complaints about her Chilean syrah rosé, one of 14 options by the glass from a list whose bottles start at a very un-W11 £14. A chic LA-style decked roof terrace looks perfect for balmy summer soirées but with Götterdämmerung playing out in the night skies above, we linger indoors until chucking-out time - not, in all, much of a cross to bear. A similarly-priced grapefruit martini at Corum is a much better swallow. Although the monicker remains, this Battersea late night DJ bar with dim sum is back in the hands of its one-time former owner. I like its new cocktail list for its recipes supplied by Hoxton Pony head honcho Gerry, son of mixmaestro Salvatore, Calabrese. There’s a cracking range of pukka hooch to get through; Pappy Van Winkle 15-year-old is worth slumming it in SW11 for if you can handle the decor. Boring-boring, beige and brown? Chuck it on the skip recently emptied by The Clarendon crew!

The Clarendon, 123a Clarendon Rd W11 : PR 07939 669 538

Corum, 30 Queenstown Rd SW11 7720 5446