£30 - £49
35 Bellevue Road, SW17 7EF
A useful neighbourhood restaurant, where the prices are appealing, the cooking reliable and the wine list good value. There are occasional blips in service, which can be fretful and forgetful, and the background music is sometimes ‘brash’, but complaints are minor. Food is given more importance at Brinkley’s Kitchen than in other branches of this wine-bar and off-licence group. The chefs have an impressively broad repertoire, from homemade focaccia and goats’ cheese ravioli, to Thai green curry, via burgers and crab cakes. Although the wine isn’t as obviously inexpensive as at other Brinkley’s outlets, BK still offers very good deals, with a bottle of 2009 Jadot Mâcon-Villages costing a mere £15. Such value, together with well-priced set lunches, keeps the place busy during the day when many places in the vicinity are empty.
More about Brinkley's Kitchen
70 Mitcham Road, London, SW17 9NA
Hikmat Antippa started his culinary career at J Sheekey in Covent Garden, before opening his first Meza – a glorified kebab shop with a few tables by Tooting Bec station. Since then, he has added this follow-up eatery on Mitcham Road – an atmospheric and cheerfully pint-sized place, with rug-strewn benches, woven baskets on the wall and a menu of forthright Lebanese classics. This is expert, authentic food “cooked with heart”, kicking off with an enterprising run through the mezze repertoire – from hummus, tabbouleh and kibbeh to batinjen makdous (oil-pickled aubergines with walnuts) or sautéed chicken livers dressed with pomegranate molasses. To follow, high-protein grills and kebabs are the order of the day, including skilfully de-boned poussin cooked to crusty perfection. There are gutsy Lebanese wines too, if you need something stronger than mint tea. Keen prices ensure that Meza is “constantly busy”.
More about Meza Tooting Broadway
£30 - £49
11 Bellevue Road, London, SW17 7EG
A faithful servant of the Chinese culinary cause in the London area for more than 25 years, Good Earth is reckoned to be a ‘dependable performer’ – according to fans who like their food without voguish risk-taking or frippery. The kitchen plays it straight, dishing up a raft of old-wave Cantonese standbys ranging from honey-glazed spare ribs and crispy won tons to steamed sea bass with ginger and spring onions, lemon chicken and beef in oyster sauce. Also look for regional variations and interlopers in the shape of Thai satays, Szechuan prawns and spicy lamb with bean paste, lemongrass and ginger. Predictably, jade busts, gilded sculptures, ornate scrolls and traditional paintings provide a flamboyant backdrop to proceedings. Good Earth also has ‘express’ branches in Wimbledon, Richmond, West Hampstead and Wandsworth specialising in takeaways and local deliveries.
More about Good Earth Bellevue Road
£30 - £49
218 Trinity Road, London, SW17 7HP
An odd-looking restaurant, Bellevue Rendezvous seems more warehouse than gourmet destination from the outside. Indoors, however, the sound & sight of happy diners is heart-warming. The place is run by a French couple: he, a man who knows his onions, in the kitchen; she, a woman who knows her customers, front of house. Their hospitality is appreciated by all. Choose either from the set menu (£20/£24 for two/three courses) or go à la carte & order smoked duck with celeriac remoulade, for instance, or orange & beetroot salad with walnuts, followed by confit of duck with lentils or a proper coq au vin served with gratin dauphinoise. Finish with Pablo’s ‘fantastic’ gateau, or a top-class almond tart. The relaxed atmosphere is helped by a well-priced French-centred wine list.
More about Bellevue Rendezvous
£50 - £79
One michelin star
2 Bellevue Road, Wandsworth Common, SW17 7EG
“Reassuringly polished in every way” says an admirer of Bruce Poole’s remarkable restaurant, while another deems it “an all-time favourite at the top end”. We’re also enamoured of Chez Bruce’s sense of style, its neighbourly virtues and the fact that it can regularly deliver inspired Michelin-starred food at egalitarian prices. As a dressed-down local eatery of the best sort, its gusty Euro-inspired food pleases, excites and soothes in equal measure, from starters of trotter sausage with warm summer beans and confit rabbit to desserts such as the much-vaunted crème brûlée or pistachio meringues with lemon verbena and raspberries. In between, the kitchen’s big-hearted approach might yield roast cod with olive oil mash, Provençal tomato and gremolata or rump of lamb with stuffed tomato, sweetbread ragoût and courgette tarte fine – manna indeed for the well-fed burghers of Wandsworth. The magnificent cheeseboard is also a class act in its own right. Some feel Chez Bruce’s new layout is a tad “cramped” and it’s clear that pressure of numbers can occasionally impact on the kitchen, but impressively professional staff are always on top of things. In contrast to the “delightful small menu”, the wine list is an all-encompassing encyclopaedic tome offering diversity, style and quality in spades.
More about Chez Bruce