Cafe Society: Good food in Blackheath shock

One Lawn Terrace is revolutionising the night-life of the Hampstead of the South. It's almost worth leaving London for as Serena Mackesy discovered

Until the government invented the Millennium, nothing much had happened to Blackheath in decades. Smart marketeers, though, will recognise that the impending dome of Greenwich is going to open up the area to incomers and that, given that local traders have done little to update since the Seventies, there is a killing to be made.

The good news is that the locals have started cashing in already. One Lawn Terrace is the brainchild of financial adviser and interior designer Nick and Annie Hall, and, having got started, they have gone the whole hog, poaching main players from the Oliver Peyton empire and indulging a taste for industrial chic that has caused quite a stir in this chintz- led 'burb. The place has been packed since it opened last month.

Even if there were much by way of local competition, it would deserve to be. Despite being built in an old print works with all the exposed- pipe-painted-brickwork signatures that often mean a night of desultory self-consciousness fiddling with parmesan shavings, they have succeeded where so many have failed both with lighting - bright but flattering - and acoustics: try as hard as I could - and I did - I couldn't hear a word emanating from the next table.

Food, meanwhile, under the auspices of Sanjay Dwivedi, a veteran of Coast, Le Caprice, the Lanesborough and the Atlantic, is designed to put their simple country neighbours into a spin: that sort of world cuisine that lets you dine on sashimi and risotto, or Thai spiced pork ravioli and calves liver, polenta and spinach. Furthermore, it's so well- balanced that you believe yourself to have room for pudding - the baked almond cheesecake is excellent - and only find out that it's not true when you rise from the table.

Best tables: the front two tables on the balcony, where you can peer down at those strange hollow bits in men's haircuts. Handy tip for saving on babysitters: take the little darlings along for Sunday brunch and they will be whisked away to a back room and amused.

Cost: roughly pounds 32 dinner, set lunch pounds 12.95/pounds 16.50

One Lawn Terrace, Blackheath Village SE3 (0181-355 1110)

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