On Thursday (election night) I decided that the best way to prepare for a night of high political drama - and fuel up for the long hours in front of the television - was to tackle a burger from the new evening menu that has been launched by the growing Brew chain at their Wandsworth café.
Brew has now set its marker out that it wants to be taken seriously as a destination for its brasserie style food and move seamlessly from early morning coffee and cakes to serving up a decent dining experience.
Situated in Old York Road, a short stroll the river and now something of a mini foodie street, the Wandsworth café is the fourth Brew in the area, with a fifth planned for Kew. I had been mightily impressed by the quality of the food served up when I road tested their new and largest café in Putney a few months back.
So I was interested to see if it could be maintained across their other establishments when I visited Wandsworth on General Election night.
The compact café offers a comfortable setting for dinners with its bright welcoming lime green banquettes, cheeky cut-down wine bottles and jam jars for subtle lighting and characterful exposed brick and distressed tongue and groove timber walls.
A large part of the compact new menu is built around a selection of interesting burgers, which include duck, halloumi, soft-shell crab, chicken and the classic beef while there are also lamb, steak, chicken and prawn skewers available from the grill.
The test of any kitchen’s claim to serving up a decent burger is their house offering and my ground beef with gruyere, fries and pickle (£12.50) was good but not great. The meat bagged plenty of flavour, was well-seasoned, but slightly dry, and obviously lacking on the cheese front in terms of taste and quantity. However, the toasted brioche bun it came served in was light and fresh and the fries great, so it polled a half decent seven out of 10 for me.
What won the vote on the night was Fiona’s tasty duck burger (£12.50) with moist and tender meat oozing out of the bun and mixed with hoisin sauce, cucumber and radish to pack a tasty punch. It came well-presented and served alongside fries and a side salad – it polled a stellar nine of 10 and was a clear winner on the night.
We enjoyed glasses of Montecastrillo Ribera Del Duero (£5), an acceptable Spanish red with hints of raspberry and cocoa which sat well with our burgers.
There was still room for a pre results pud and I could not resist the white chocolate blondie with candied pistachio and hot maple syrup (£6) which delivered a mixture of lovely sweet, sticky and creamy flavours and textures in equal doses. Fiona went for the Lamingtons (£3) a traditional Australian treat that provided pleasant mouthfuls of light and moist sponge cake coated in coconut and chocolate.
It seems these days that ‘brasserie style’ menus strong on burgers and satisfying customers from their morning coffee to evening dinner are all the rage in the restaurant business. It is clear that Brew has positioned themselves to have a slice of that cake on offer and so far seem to be making a pretty decent fist of succeeding at it.