£30 - £49
346-348 Garratt Lane, London, SW18 4ES
Bright lighting and a pale-wood interior do little to enhance the atmosphere at this basic Thai café, but while the decor is perfectly clean and respectable, we feel that the cooking at this former favourite is definitely on a downward slide. The standard range of noodles, salads, stir-fries and curries just about pass muster, although our Thai fishcakes tasted plasticky and synthetic. Don’t expect to stay long after you’ve finished, mind – it’s not that sort of place. The end of the BYO policy is still mourned by locals, but frankly this is not the only reason why this Thai café is losing friends.
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£30 - £49
214 Garratt Lane Wandsworth, London, SW18 4EA
Just moments from Earlsfield Station, The Jolly Gardeners is a laid-back boozer and dining room with a fantastic garden – perfect for soaking up the summer sunshine. That said, it’s equally popular during the colder months, thanks to the comfortably stylish eating area, friendly service and buzzing atmosphere. The daily changing menu features classic gastropub fare, with the homemade burgers and baguettes going down a storm at lunchtime. Our current favourites from the carte range from pearl barley risotto with smoked balsamic onions, beetroot and Parmesan to pork belly with carrot purée and chimichurri sauce – although the fish pie is also worth noting, as are puds such as tarte Tatin with ginger and chilli ice cream. Otherwise, The Jolly Gardeners is perfect for post-work drinks and weekend sessions with friends. Don’t miss the curries, quiz nights, occasional live music and BBQ masterclasses either. In short, “good fun”!
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£30 - £49
260-262 Merton Road, London, SW18 5JL
One of the first big successes of the gastropub movement, The Earl Spencer displays its big wood-lined bar, its ceiling fans and its chalked-up boards with pride. The kitchen still hasn’t taken its eye off the ball, producing a vibrant menu that changes every day and is full of seasonal interest. In summer you might find asparagus and poached eggs or strawberry Pavlova; in winter, daube of beef and sticky toffee pudding. There’s a thought-out wine list for accompaniment, but also plenty of interest for ale drinkers and those on the wagon, all fairly priced. A separate entrance leads to a function room for up to 100 people; given the non-corporate, individual nature of the pub, it’s hardly surprising that praise has been unanimous for events held here.
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£30 - £49
394 Garratt Lane, London, SW18 4HP
A busy, buzzing Korean restaurant, Cah Chi is packed nightly with local young professionals. They come both for the warmth of welcome from the family who run the place, and to eat well. Korean barbecue is the speciality, so each table has its own hotplate. Choose from beef, pork or prawn bulgogi, which is marinated and then cooked before your eyes. Whet your appetite with soup – pork and vegetable dumpling soup and seaweed soup are both recommended – or tuck into steamed tofu or pan-fried courgettes. There are also hotpots and noodles to try. This is a cash-only establishment, but prices are low (and it’s BYO – for wine only) so you won’t need wads.
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