The Eelbrook, perched on the edge of Eelbrook Common – where the New King's Road meets the end of the Wandsworth Bridge Road – recently underwent a revamp, transforming it from tired run-down café to modern glass-fronted restaurant, and now serves up colourful Mediterranean dishes.
A new outdoor squashy seating area, scattered with plump stripy cushions, has recently been installed into a nook between park and restaurant. Handily it’s a perfectly positioned suntrap for evening rays making it a great place to settle for pre-dinner drinks, which for us were fluffy whisky sours mixed up by an excitable barman who awaited our verdict with Labrador-like enthusiasm. (They were delicious.)
I’ve never suffered from a sweet tooth (I say suffer because I’ve grown up with two chocaholics in my family who have never learnt when to stop before feeling sick) so was thrilled to see that Eelbrook’s menu lists a tantalising selection of tapas-style small plates to nibble on pre-starter. Starters have always been my favourite course – savoury, occasionally some sort of delicacy and usually a bit more spoiling than the main (and maybe the excitement/greed of knowing the rest is all still ahead), so when our waiter suggested four small plates to share, followed by three starters, it was music to my ears (seven starters!)
Both Olly and I eat everything, so are always happy to go with restaurant suggestions. We grazed on Salt Cod Croquettes in Squid Ink Aioli; Marinated Artichokes in Rosemary, Bay and Anchovy; Courgette Flowers with Brown Crab Mayonnaise and Grilled Squid with Coriander Mojo out in the squashy suntrap. Appetites well and truly whetted we moved indoors for our starters.
Inside we tucked into Lincolnshire Smoked Eel with Beetroot, Sorrel, Apple & Horseradish; Chopped Raw Beef with Marjoram, Burnt Onion Sauce & Toast and Honey Roast Baby Beetroot with Labneh, Pine Nuts and Mint, the latter of which was standout amazing – and that’s coming from a pair of big meat and fish eaters.
Empty starter plates were promptly removed and replaced with Elwy Valley Lamb Sirloin with Sicilian Caponata & Crispy Sage and Grilled Bavette with Caramelised Onion, Watercress Purée & Onion Juices, both equally delicious. Unsurprisingly, at this point, we began to hit a wall. But were just about able to manage a little mango ice cream and, for Olly, Dark Chocolate Delice with Salted Caramel and Hazelnuts (also a sufferer of chocoholism).
Despite the fact we virtually rolled home, thanks to an 11-course eat-athon, the food was so mouth-wateringly tasty it’s making me hungry just glancing over the menu again. The Eelbrook team looked after us beautifully, in an informal but professional way. And as I may have a small furry friend in tow shortly (more on this to come), having the added bonus of the park alongside means I'll definitely be coming back to try brunch, which is served over the weekends.