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|Address:||147 St John’s Hill, London SW11 1TQ|
|Tel:||020 7450 6457|
|Wine: £17.00||Champagne: £59.00|
|Opening Hours:||Tues-Sun 12N-12M (Sat-Sun 10am- )|
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It seems everyone is jumping on the nostalgia bandwagon these days but Powder Keg Diplomacy has taken it seriously. it's a few steps from Clapham Junction station but a world away. Although the theme is Victoriana, there's a distinct whiff of Great Gatsby-esque, prohibition-defying, high-falutin' good times, tempered with a gentle, English stiff-upper lip. There are mismatched chairs, charming light fittings made out of presumably recycled gramophones, an old wrought iron conservatory providing a more formal setting for dinner. I really feel I should have put on a dress and some lippy. Scratch below this vintage veneer though and, unlike some other retro venues, you'll find another layer of vintage. The cocktail list is filled with interesting, original concoctions with seasonal, English and old-skool influences. I had a wonderfully sweet and sour Rhubarb G&T which had us reminiscing about those old rhubarb & custard boiled sweeties. The colonial-themed wine list focuses on South Africans, Australians and yes, English wines. My one bugbear is that they don't do many by the glass, although they do offer more by the carafe. The menu has an air of traditional about it but it's more modern dishes with a twist than the showy flair (or pricing!) of a Heston Dinner. I had a lovely mackerel on broccoli spears and curly kale side. Service, from the be-hatted and be-pinnied waiter, was friendly, if perhaps a little slow on the drinks service. At £14-24 for mains, it's not the cheapest place around here, but I come away from a dinner having had a cocktail, bread, glass of wine, main and shared side with change from £40 and having had a very pleasant evening so it's not bad value. If anyone asks again to meet in this area I will definitely be returning to Powderkeg. I just hope the hordes who hang out at the Slug and Lettuce never make it this far.