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Saturday, 27 February 2010

Prince Albert, Battersea

The launch of The Northcote in Battersea is all cheap rosé, shucked oysters, bad outfits and loons in daft headgear posing beside a jokey oil of a custard tart-splattered Duke Of Wellington - much to the merriment of Northcote Road’s sub-Sloane set. We escape to The Prince Albert another of owner Geronimo Inns’ recent openings at the posh(er) end of SW11. They’ve given this old codger with its butch island bar a decent makeover but why do Geronimo’s designers always trowel on the twee like they’re Lady GaGa’s stylist? Strip out the cod-mod-Britannia and there’s plenty to admire - e.g. robust German frothy tops on tap and a wine list with gluggable interestings at under £20. We trade up to Simmonet-Febvre Chablis, the last swallow of summer, perhaps, in ‘Albert Square’, the pub’s attractive yard where punters congregate to ‘smirt’. That’s the act of smoking and flirting as you doubtless know, although based on two Hermès bag hags’ acid-tongued patter, smitching - as in smoking Bensons and bitching - is nearer the mark. Our barman, meanwhile, reckons The Albert’s modish all-day grub is ‘sexy English with a twist’ - a description some might apply to Reiss or Karen Millen, like Geronimo, fashionable mid-market chains, if that’s your bag.

The Prince Albert, 85 Albert Bridge Rd SW11 7228 0923