Open Tue–Thu 6pm–midnight; Fri–Sat 6pm–1am; Sun 6pm–11.30pm
Pretty rock ‘n’ roll, with its gold lacquer walls and red snakeskin seats. ‘I wouldn’t mind a handbag like that,’ the Mrs-to-be hinted. A recessed ceiling showcases the long chandelier that dominates the rear eating area and further twinkles and sparkles glint above the bar.
Pretty thin at 8pm on a Tuesday, but everyone was watching the World Cup. In any case The Lonsdale is a dressy drinking hole that you’d usually head into under cover of darkness. There are plenty of other places to drink outside in the long summer hours, so this place is at a disadvantage given there’s only natural light at one end. A couple of yummy mummies with really good hair gossiped away in one corner; conversely a group of four that could have been their children rocked up to lounge in another corner. My feeling was that come 10 o’clock there’d be a steady crowd and the waitress confirmed that weekends bring a crush of good timers.
Things started pretty well. Though her scallops (£8) were a bit measly compared to the rotund sea marshmallows to be had elsewhere, the chorizo they rubbed up against was satisfyingly charred. My silky liver parfait (£6.50) was good, with an abundance of tart silverskins, capers and cornichons – I hate it when there’s not enough. The fragrant herb mash supporting the main dish of chicken (£13.50) delighted her, while I sat a bit disgruntled with my fillet steak. It’s the dish they boast most about on the menu (check the website if you don’t believe me) but it wasn’t as melt-on-the-tongue as I’ve had in Argentina (or even Gaucho) and at £27 you’d expect something pretty great, no? It was just okay. Chocolate fondue (£5.50), complete with fresh fruit and marshmallows, turned up last and was simple and lovely.
There are some killer cocktails to be had, some with a serious amount of booze in. My Quiet Storm was camp enough to make me feel like I was in the Club Tropicana video. Her Mule didn’t kick in a deceptively dangerous way – it was the kind of drink you wouldn’t think was boozy until you were looking at the ceiling, having fallen off your chair. Lots of good plonk too, with nothing too stupidly priced.