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Friday, 28 February 2014

London House, Battersea

I dug the dive bar at Ramsbo's Union Street Cafe. Will Gordon grab me again with his latest gaff, London House? Problemo: I'm not big on Battersea, on account of having been banished there - weeping, wailing, pilled-up to the pituitary gland on anti-depressants - when I couldn't afford the rent in Chelsea. That was back when the King's Road (hard as this is to believe to anyone under 30) was an eye-poppingly cool street style catwalk not yet overrun by Ollie, Golly, Binky, Stinky, Caggy, Slaggy and other scripted reality show Muppetry. Nowadays, once-grim Battersea is touted as South Chelsea, its cut glass accents as sharp as the blades toted by trouble on the notorious Winstanley Estate during my enforced exile. SW11's flush residents will be manna to Ramsay on a notoriously difficult site that has seen off others, most recently blink-and-you-missed-it Bennett's Oyster Bar and Brasserie. Problemo numero 2: I'm not big on drinking in rooms that look like the set for a remake of 80s OAP sitcom Waiting For God.The lounge - tasteful as it is in Prussian blue, cumin and ox-blood upholstery, warmed by a flame effect fire - is an ante room divorced from the out-of-shot bar's theatre. Make that a great-auntie room, given the age of some of the leather bags loitering after lunch when I drop in. Still, drinks such as Garden of Eden (Elmer T. Lee bourbon, apple and lavender shrub, Kummel and celery soda) and Flying Scotsman (Clynelish Distillers Edition malt, honey, bitters and lapsang souchon smoke) make the safari south worthwhile. Polished, enthusiastic service and realistic pricing - £8 for gin fizz - should also help assure its success. Me? I'm soon itching to get back to my reality, even if, priced out of prime Chelsea, the Spencer Matthew classes are encroaching on my manor now. Totes traj!

7 - 9  Battersea Square SW11 3RA 7592 8545