Of all the cities across the globe, nowhere does contrast quite like London. Here, old rubs up next to new, and eclectic concepts come to life in places you wouldn’t expect. Brunswick House is a top-tier example of this; a huge, historic mansion house, sitting oddly alone, amidst the ugliness of Vauxhall roundabout. The staff muse that, ‘it’s amazing that nothing has happened to it,’ speaking of the Grade-II listed building which dates back to 1758. It has escaped property developers and the like, retaining its magic and serving as a characterful venue which spans a garden café, all-day dining room and several floors of private booking spaces.
There is so much to see here, from the candlelit cellar hosting jazz nights, to the tiny staircase leading to the attic, cordoned off with a red carpet for the building’s owner to access his in-house home. As we say, it’s magic. But, this isn’t a case of style over substance and when it comes to food, founder and chef Jackson Boxer continues the theme of contrast with daily changing dishes which somehow feel familiar and yet totally unexpected.
Overall, the menu is rooted in European and British cuisine, littered with name-checked suppliers like Linley Farm’s crunchy cucumbers which are served with a white gazpacho, finished with zingy pickled grapes, aromatic Korean mint and puffed rice for texture. See, probably not how you usually enjoy cucumbers? And, while you might assume to know what’s up when it comes to a devilled egg, this one comes aesthetically arranged, topped with popping trout roe and nutty sesame, making the experience both delicious and fun.
Across the curation of smaller and larger plates you’ll find a good spread of vegetarian, pescatarian and meat-based dishes, but we settled on the roast chicken, decorated with Dorset clams, sitting in moqueca broth. And, there it is again, that sense of surprise to bring impossibly succulent, on-the-bone chicken, together with a fishy stew and tiny clams but it absolutely works and was so moreish that we kept gorging, long after we should have.
If you’re a pudding person, you’ll be delighted by the ice-cold banana parfait, sandwiched inside a spelt waffle with a rich, indulgent coffee molasses, but you should also try the soft milk cake, with sticky English plums and earthy miso Chantilly. It’s one of those dishes that will have you hashing out the flavours with your date long after you’ve eaten it, in fact, they all will.