Sunday, 10 July 2016
Georgian mansion Brunswick House stands on the Vauxhall bus station ring road like a rose among thorns. It is dwarfed by a colossal green-tinted glass and steel apartment complex, and sits opposite homeless shelters. In fact, with the sheer number of new developments nearby, it is amazing that the building has survived since 1758.
Part restaurant, part event location, the mansion was originally built for the Duke of Brunswick and it remains full of character. The many chandeliers that hang clustered on the ceiling are for sale as Brunswick House is also in the business of antique salvage. Trying to spot the disco ball in amongst them makes for a pleasant change to checking your phone when your dining companion is in the powder room.
As there's a bar adjacent to the restaurant, we started our meal with martinis, which were, as you might expect, served in old-fashioned glass wear. We then choose a carafe of Tempranillo (£18) from the wine list. If you were looking to impress, more expensive bottles are also available.
Let's talk about the food. Warmed bread with whipped butter arrived unannounced and did not cost extra. The menu changes on a daily basis, with five main courses on offer. As I am not a big fan of meat, I was impressed to see two fish courses available and chose the plaice with broad beans and courgette. It arrived garnished in edible flowers and despite being light, it was strong with dill and lemon.
We also ordered the hogget with aubergine, fermented shrimp and cucumber, and a side of new potatoes. Cucumber might sound a strange accompaniment for lamb, but it was surprisingly good. I'm not ashamed to admit that we had to Google what some menu items were, and that's not to say that our waiter wouldn't have been more than happy to explain them.
I polished off an unusual dessert of chocolate with cumin and caramel, though I will admit to not being quite sold on the combination.
In essence, Brunswick House is the ideal location for a romantic date. There's plenty to talk about when interpreting the menu and when taking in your surroundings, and if it goes well, you are a stone's throw away from the river Thames to watch the sunset.
Meal with wine for two people £85 including service