Plunder Down Under
Brew announces its Antipodean heritage before you even step in. Outside the entrance, Vegemite Jars are let into a glass covered footwell. The building itself, quite incongruously in this area of true Brit Edwardian residential houses and small high street shops, looks almost like an outback sheep-shearing shed. Preceded by a torch warmed, covered conservatory with a large pizza oven in one corner, you make your way inside, where some Sheila has put her woman’s touch to the interior design and given the establishment a connection to the rowing community of Putney, with oars on the wall and vintage prints of famous rowers. But make no mistake, Bruce has made his presence quite obvious too, as you eat, you can’t avoid seeing the large bone saws hanging in plain sight in the glass enclosed butchery station, and the open kitchen at the back is a no nonsense and functional tucker producing workspace.
The menu is nothing like a conventional list of food. It’s more like a thick, rough-hewn magazine. Here we see what’s on offer for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. We learn that herbs are all home grown, the in-house master butcher butchers all the meat bought in, the chicken van delivers fresh chooks, bread and cakes are baked daily on the premises, desserts are hand-crafted, and coffee is of the best quality. There are profiles of local residents, recipes of popular dishes, and a list of films shown once a week in the restaurant’s cinema, La Luna. The joint has a convivial fair dinkum Aussie vibe, and it’s chocker this Sunday early arvo with young, casually dressed punters, some with their ankle-biters in tow, chatting, drinking, tucking into their brekkie.
Rumour has it that the boss of the place is a bloke who likes a bit of a barney. Guests who whinge about the food are, apparently, told to rack off in no uncertain terms. That, and the sight of the bone saws, makes me feel a bit wimpy but there’s a bonzer atmosphere and the service is friendly. We’ve had a good old lie-in, me and the Lovely Husband, and having forsaken our usual goody goody two shoes fruit and muesli breakfast, we’re hungry enough to gobble up a kangaroo.
There’s plenty to choose from and it all sounds mouthwatering. The Lovely Husband goes for the Boston Beans with Treacle Cured Bacon, I pick the Nordic Breakfast from the specials list, which promises two poached eggs, treacle cured salmon and avocado on sourdough bread and, of course, a coffee each.
Our food arrives, decent portions and looking good, but I’m disappointed. My eggs are stone cold, as is my sourdough toast, and the avocado, which I expected to be either sliced or smashed, is a textureless, tasteless puree, a bit like a smooth guacamole but without the interesting chili spiciness. Lovely Husband really likes his beans but the bacon is grey and floppy, rather than sizzling and crispy, and very sweet to boot. Maybe treacle cured is not the thing for us?
I pick at mine but there’s plenty left on the plate. When I tell the waitress, she shrugs and says; ’You should have told us’. Erm, I just have, bone saws not withstanding? We leave it at that, as we don’t want of the guv throwing a wobbly and chucking his dummy.
To cheer ourselves up, we order Blueberry Pancakes with Caramelised Bananas, Crème Fraiche and Maple Syrup to share. This is beaut and puts the smile back into our Sunday. Three lovely spongy blueberry sprinkled discs with warm sweet banana, drizzled with maple syrup and that cooling balance of the crème fraîche to round off the taste sensation. Ripper! We’d have liked just a bit more coffee but, sadly you don’t get top ups here, you have to buy by the cup.
We ask for the docket. Strewth, mate, we’re talking big bikkies here! £47.48 for our brunch, two cups of coffee and service charge! What? Beans on toast and bacon £13.40? Two cold eggs, a bit of salmon and avo £12.50? Three little pancakes £10.90? Not even they can sweeten the sour taste this leaves with us.
Back at home we nearly have a hernia, when we realize that a very similar brunch at the famous and very smart Wolseley on Piccadilly in central London would have cost us significantly less. We’ve been had for drongos and we know it.
Brew has six outlets in the SW London area but none will be seeing us again!
What I wore
Grey knitted jumper dress with pale pink silk tie sleeves, Nearly Black 50 denier Wolford Tights, grey suede ankle boots, Hermes Birkin, custom hand-painted by artist Boyarde Messenger.
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