A smartish French bistro that has become the go-to for informal occasions in Wimbledon Village, The White Onion accommodates a happy local crowd: parents escaping the kids for a night out; families celebrating special birthdays and the odd date or two. A large service bar divides the odd-shaped room into three parts, making each space a reasonably intimate haven where guests feel cosseted.
With head chef Frédéric Duval at the helm, the kitchen deploys a palette of local ingredients from named sources to create big generous flavours. A starter of scallops delivers the bivalves in their shell, bolstered with a cauliflower and lemon purée and offset by a garnish of almond and puttanesca, while tuna tartare is beautifully presented with a seaweed salad – the addition of burrata making it that much richer.
Main courses follow in the same vein – you might plump for a peasant-style plateful of slow-roasted suckling pig with beluga lentils or go for some luxurious seafood. Slow-cooked monkfish is paired with dashi-glazed Swiss chard, Dorset crab, sauté greens and crab velouté, while pan-fried halibut might keep company with a crispy Poole Bay oyster, braised savoy cabbage and smoked eel sauce.
Puds are more fanciful and very sweet (think gingerbread Paris Brest with pear sorbet and a spiced pear crust), although there’s also a good selection of cheese for those who prefer it. The wine list has plenty of intriguing labels, with a good selection by the glass and carafe for those counting their units.