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Thursday, 13 October 2011

Powder Keg Diplomacy, Wandsworth

Powder Keg Diplomacy: the name conjures up a governor keeping a troublesome colony in check. Sporadic summer rioting aside, are St John's Hill natives really so volatile? New from SW4’s Lost Society/ Lost Angel boys, two south London bars I dig, there’s a distinct 1900’s revisited feel to their new sister; no more so, than in a handsome wrought iron-framed Edwardian conservatory-cum-dining room. Flatteringly lit, with wind-up gramophone speakers suspended upside-down as witty trumpet lily lampshades, it's lined in period-correct frondy kentia palms. Cutting the mustard in their Phileas Fogg attire, our waiters might be out of a Hovis ad, or staff from  Downton Abbey moonlighting in the Big Smoke. Mirroring a trend at other fine bars such as Worship Street Whistling Shop and ZTH, accomplished mixology served in vintage stemware also references a time when Britannia ruled the waves and a gin and milk was yours for a penny three farthings, guv. Fine East India and Empire cocktails, and whiskey and gunpowder green tea-based Chatham Artillery Punch are the sort of superior libations the Earl of Grantham could be quaffing if he’d only bin stuffed shirt Carson for a more clued-up flunky. Good too, is the autumnal Granddad's Allotment - your five a day in a glass plus a slug of hooch for being such a good boy. Powder Keg D is also strong on British cask ales (Oakham Citra/ Innis and Gunn Oaked et al), stout and porter, 'colonial' beers and wines from £17. Delve into some good stickies such as a Canadian 'ice' dessert wine made from frozen-on-the-vine grapes. Well-judged nosh covers anything from ‘tiffin’ (game pie/ kedgeree/ Scotch egg with hollandaise) to Mrs. Beaton-style blow-outs (pork belly, celeriac mash and savoury dumplings/ roasted venison parsnip puree and stout sauce/ pan-fried gurnard, capers, cockles and spinach mash).  Prices heed the bar's station in life (that'll be Clapham Junction) and for pudding, I’m urged to try a ginger three-way.  Supply your own punchline!
147 St.John’s Hill SW11 7450 6457 http://powderkegdiplomacy.co.uk/