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|Address:||165 Stonhouse Street, London SW4 6BJ|
|Tel:||020 3544 6860|
|Price: £35.00||Wine: £15.95||Champagne: £36.50|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Fri 12N-3.30pm 6-10.30pm Sat-Sun 11am-4pm 6-10.30pm (Sun -9pm)|
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The Stonhouse is barely recognisable from these promo pictures which make it look, without any customers, airily capacious. When it's rammed at the weekend it feels rather compact; you won't see any of those lovely floors, but you'll still be able to admire the quirky Granny's-back-in-fashion bird wallpaper. There's also a bijou (aka small) suntrap terrace out the back which gets busy on fine days but you can usually shoehorn a few extra people at any half-filled tables as the crowd's a friendly kind of bunch. Our hangover-busting burger order didn't particularly challenge the kitchen but they did the job and were juicy and unusually (but brilliantly) cooked on the rarer side of medium into the bargain. There seems to be the normal gastro-gumpf on the menu: I have vague recollections of seeing a confit of duck and the promise of Sunday roasts. The one blip on an otherwise glossily casual Clapham horizon is the patchy service. The waitress outside was chatty but struggling, as she frantically told us, with serving the heaving area single-handedly. She did admirably in the circumstances. What a shame the surly bar staff let the atmosphere down: you can be brusque if you're being brisk but if your service is slow you need at least to be smiley. And if the customer isn't even trying to buy a round but just pay the tab then for goodness sake take their money before they are tempted to give up on the 20 min wait to even see the bill and leave you out of pocket. At £45 for 3 mains and 3 soft drinks the dent in the pocket wouldn't be too big but I'm sure the owners would still think it worth collecting. I noticed this once grubby off-track boozer is now part of a small South London gang including the much-loved (and more pronounce-able) Avalon and Abbeville, also worth checking out if you're looking for a non-Infernos-based night out around SW4.