Restaurants: Where shall we meet in SW3? by Serena Mackesy

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The Independent Culture
David Massey, former head chef at Woz, recently set up on his own, taking over the former premises of the Queen's Arms, a truly grotty pub, to open Brompton Bay. You would never recognise it: everything has been swept away to produce a light-filled modern space with floor-length windows and a seriously elegant type of punter. Being handy for shops like Joseph, and sharing its catchment area with swank venues Bibendum and The Collection, this is hardly surprising.

They can't be the most rewarding people to cook for. They may look good, and they may be sophisticated diners, but it must be depressing to see so many plates come back to the kitchen with just a couple of mouthfuls eaten.

Massey's food is a combination of rustic Mediterranean and modern British, his menu is one of those frustrating affairs that are genuinely difficult to choose a single option from.

He's one of those chefs who understands vegetables and strives to do interesting things with them, which means that someone like me, who eats meat in decreasing quantities, finds themselves in a lather of indecision.

Eventually, though, we had char-grilled squid with chilli jam (shamelessly hot) and wild rocket, and acorn-fed pork loin with black figs and shaved Parmesan on the table between us. The pork dish was great: an eyes-closed combo of savoury, sweet and fruity. My brill came with a gorgeous combination of salsify, cavolo nero, capers and salsa verde which cut the fattiness of the fish quite perfectly.

Special mention, too, for the coffee zabaglione, which I tasted in order to disapprove of mucking about with a dish that is already perfection, and started smiling on the second spoonful. Roughly pounds 35 a head with puds and house wine, and you can spend some really silly money in the Conran Shop afterwards.

Brompton Bay, 96 Draycott Avenue, SW3 (0171-225 2500)


The Collection 264 Brompton Rd, SW3 (0171-225 1212)

Pelham Street 93 Pelham St, SW3 (0171-584 4788)

Bibendum 81 Fulham Rd, SW3 (0171-581 5817)

Tsu 118 Draycott Ave, SW3 (0171-584 5522)