Not my Kitchen!
Given that most of my restaurant reviews are of places I know and love, it’s a rare occurrence for me to leave somewhere feeling truly disappointed.
Brinkley’s Kitchen – on the edge of Wandsworth Common was one such occasion.
I was with a girlfriend for supper and we had great hopes that we’d found somewhere friendly with good quality food that would make us want to go back again. Sadly, that was not the case. It’s a comfy venue, with nicely laid out tables and clean, modern decor.
The restaurant itself was quite busy for a Wednesday night and service was fast, if inaccurate (we ordered a side of fries which appeared as mash, and cold milk with the coffee which appeared warm and foaming at the mouth) and a little unconvincing (it might have been nice to be offered bread and trying to get me to taste the red wine while I was drinking champagne would have been forgivable if the waiter had returned later!). The food was a sad apology to modern British cuisine.
I started with the carpaccio of tuna. I was almost speechless at the bizarre plate which appeared. A weird lime and chili sauce infusion with sad pieces of tuna floating haplessly amongst the derelict sesame seeds and bits of what might have been chopped chive…with warm toast?
My friend’s special – crispy squid looked a lot better and tasted a little better, but not much. Rather like spicy rubber bands with a few green peppercorns thrown in for effect.
Our main courses arrived promptly. Mine, the escalope of veal was a thick breadcrumb crust covering a sliver of overcooked, grey, chewy veal, five cherry tomatoes on the vine on top…and a little pile of what looked like instant mash, complemented by a spoonful of very pleasant spinach that tasted exactly like the stuff I buy from Waitrose and keep in the freezer for emergencies.
My friend chose the stuffed chicken breast. Sadly, our picture has got lost…but the components are worth a mention. Chicken breast stuffed with spinach and ricotta, served with red wine jus and wild mushrooms and a galette of potatoes and chorizo. OK, so if you take every potential foodie ingredient and throw them on the plate together, you get a result? Well, she liked the sauce;)
It’s worth noting that our side order of fries looked fabulous but tasted soggy. And for no good reason we were given a bottle of tomato ketchup to go with them!
I wasn’t particularly hungry by now but we went on to try the dessert menu in the hopes we could find something to redeem the place. My crème brulee was overpoweringly flavoured of condensed milk, I would guess either because it was over sweetened and over cooked or because it had been stabilised with the odd tin or so! The tarte au citron looked better but tasted cloyingly of lemon curd. It was still the best dish of the day!
I felt like one of the diners on ‘come dine with me’, by my standards the food was just NOT up to scratch. And yet, it was busy and no one looked unhappy!
This restaurant is a sad affirmation of the preference for convenience and comfort over quality of food. And you know, I don’t often write bad reviews!
Our bill for two including service, two glasses of champagne, one glass of white and half a bottle of red was just over £114.
If you want to try for yourself
Tooting, UK SW17 7EF
0208 672 5888