Cafe Society: Are you sitting comfortably?

A largely undiscovered gem of a restaurant lurks in Lavender Hill's wastelands. Sofa so good

I don't know anyone who doesn't love the Sofa Bar. Even the most dedicated North of the River person starts revising their attitude to the south when you take them there. In the wastelandy bit of Lavender Hill, opposite a set of tower blocks it, and its sister restaurant the Drawing Room, form the frontage of the unpromising Battersea Business Centre, though confusingly both are listed under "The Tea Gallery" in the phone book. It's got to be one of the best bars in London.

It's also one of the more barking, being, it seems, the final resting place of all those things you see in junk shops and never quite have the nerve to buy yourself.

The basic theme of orange, imperial blue and gold is heightened by more eccentric objects than all the architectural salvage shops on the North End Road.

You stub your fags out in the lap of a golden mermaid or the mouth of a ceramic frog, tables are covered in stately-home curtain fabric, plates don't match.

Food is classy but unpretentious: hearty quantities of really good bread made on the premises, lots of olive oil, grilling and spices, everything done with a casual cosiness that gives the impression of going round to a really nice person's house and finding that a load of other lovely people have dropped in at the same time.

As long as you're not a complete toper you can eat yourself to a standstill for around pounds 20. And unless you're the kind of person who demands that their food arrive within two minutes of ordering, it's hard to fault.

And yet, here's the mystery: the place is often only about half full. You see people walking along the pavement and reeling in delight when they glance in through the windows, but not everyone has the sense to push open the door. I can only think that it's because most places that look like this are in areas like Notting Hill, where the mumbling Trustafarian ghastliness of the clientele and the exaggerated prices would discourage any normal person.

Don't be fooled: this place deserves to be heaving; if you're ever sloping past, drop in and

be delighted.

The Drawing Room/The Sofa Bar, 103 Lavender Hill, SW11 (0171-350 2564)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher

    £100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

    Recruitment Genius: Transport Administrator / Planner

    £20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Associate - London

    Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...

    Austen Lloyd: Senior Law Costs - London City

    Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee