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 made his name).
Its current custodians are the Simon Hopkinson-trained owner Bruce Poole and head chef Matt Christmas, who have worked together for over a decade. The pair have the south London restaurant in a rather more egalitarian direction with a near total lack of bells and whistles (the restaurant admits to not being into gadgets and tricks in the kitchen and risk being seen as slightly old fashioned by some) keeping prices approachable. Indeed, given the consistent excellence of the kitchen, three courses here for a weekday lunch for £50 is one of the capital’s greatest bargains.
Together Poole and Christmas have out together a menu modern food based loosely on classical and regional French and Mediterranean cuisine. Technique is all here, with the restaurant excelling in homemade charcuterie made, slow-cooked braises and offal as well as bread making and classical desserts. As in France, the cheese board is taken very seriously with a trolley that practically groans under the weight of its oozing bounty difficult to turn down as it does the dining room rounds.
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.