An undisputed London classic that offers a hearty and surprisingly egalitarian menu alongside a great wine cellar
Overlooking Wandsworth Common, this humorously named London classic is on hallowed ground (the building was once home to Harvey’s, the restaurant in which Marco Pierre White first won three stars).
Its current custodian is the Simon Hopkinson-trained Bruce Poole, who has taken the South London restaurant in a rather more egalitarian direction with a near total lack of bells and whistles, keeping prices approachable. Indeed, given the consistent excellence of the kitchen, three courses here for less than £50 is one of the capital’s greatest bargains.
The restaurant is French leaning, but other cuisines are dealt with deftly too (Poole’s pasta dishes being a case in point). The current menu includes the likes of borscht with spätzle, ham hock and herbs; hake with wild garlic, sautéed gnocchetti and beurre blanc; and hot chocolate pudding with praline parfait. A cheese trolley that practically groans under the weight of its oozing bounty is difficult to turn down.
The wine cellar benefits from years of careful investment and allows Chez Bruce to list many great and rare wines during their perfect drinking windows at reasonable prices, which – as the team delicately points out – is not necessarily always the case in other restaurants.
The space is simple and grown up with tasteful modern art and plenty of natural light – and the views overlooking the leafy common aren’t half bad either. Chez Bruce’s front-of-house game is as flawless as the food, in fact, there are few restaurants that feel as professionally run as this one.