High Dining and Dive Drinking

Last Updated on : 5th March 2024

Ploussard sits on the corner of St.John’s road and Battersea Rise. Having a narrow frontage and long interior it’s easy to overlook, but I think that would be a mistake.

Named after an alternate spelling of the grape varietal Poulsard (a red grape used extensively in Eastern France,) Ploussard’s décor is minimalist, with tables lining each side of the long dining room down to a small bar area overlooking the kitchen, which is where I had booked our seating.

 

Ploussard bills itself as a restaurant wine bar. The food menu was eclectic and short, a mix cheaper dishes for solo consumption running from about £5-£11 and larger dishes to be shared all hovering around the £20ish mark. We were told that a few dishes each and a couple to share would probably be enough, after we had looked to place a comically small order.

The wine list is varied, interesting and it has to be said expensive. With prices starting at £38, this is the sort of entry point you’d expect at an occasions or fine dining establishment.

For those who haven’t heard, orange wine is the in thing, and though it might resemble alcoholic Irn Bru, it can be quite delicious. The prices started (and for me stopped,) at £55 for those who wish to be on trend, for a bottle from Spain that proved a wise investment.

For those not wishing reach their credit limits quite as quickly, there are wines by the glass available at around £10-11, but for that you only get 100ml, so drink fast before it evaporates. Most of the other tablesI observed had wisely chosen to get a bottle, though at these prices I guessed it’d be the only one.

Our food started to arrive, firstly with a devilled crab sandwich each. This appeared to a popular choice, with the chef devoting a lot of time to preparing these. The crab meat itself was sandwiched between two wafers which were then seasoned with spice. This slight sweetness of the spice brought out the marine earthy (I know that’s contradictory,) flavour of the crab meat. I finished it rapidly and could have happily devoured many more.

The second dish to emerge was the raw diver’s scallop with citrus to share. This was nice, but to me the citrus flavour more buried than complemented the delicate flavour of the raw seafood. It was, however, so far so good on the wine which though bolder in flavour than a white was more easy going than many reds which made it a good companion for these and the other dishes we’d ordered.

Next up was a surprise, a complimentary dish of a madeleine and onion custard. This normally retails at £5 and is perhaps too unusual for people to order. It was actually very good, though I doubt I’ll be recommending it to go with apple pie.

Following was the first of the sharing dishes, saddleback sausage with mash and charcuterie sauce. I must admit my ignorance of what a saddleback sausage is, and assumed it was named that way due to its position on top of the mash. It is in fact an old English type of sausage, which was perhaps why it had such a distinct peppery flavour. The mash and the sauce went well and once again I was left pleased with our choices.

The final dish was lamb leg with anchovy, and I think horseradish. To me the lamb looked more like two cutlets than a leg, but what it lacked in quantity, it made up in quality. Both my companion and I agreed that this had the best flavours of that night’s dishes, and this was against very stiff competition.

The bill came to around £160; a bit less than I was expecting for the quality of what we had enjoyed. If I had to be critical, and if not what’s the point of writing this, I would say that we perhaps had room left for one more sharing dish. The food I think is the best I’ve had recently in the Clapham Junction area; however, it did feel rather like a do it yourself tasting menu and the wine list like it was taking a break from Claridge’s. I would recommend and I’m already planning a repeat visit.

If Ploussard is high dining, then Project Orange is low drinking. Situated opposite Clapham Junction, the exterior looks borrowed from a low budget end of the world movie whilst the interior resembles a ruin with ambitions to become a dive.

With the sort of rock music playing that death metal enthusiasts might find too extreme, stepping inside is like entering a post-apocalyptic Halloween. This provided just the contrast on which to the end the evening, and so sipping on our rum and cokes we did.

Ploussard Battersea

97 St John’s Rd, London SW11 1QY

https://ploussardlondon.co.uk/

Project Orange

43 St John’s Hill, London SW11 1TT

https://project-orange.business.site/

 

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