"Delicious food and a great vibe - Jules is one worth journeying south of the river for..."Review Rating: Reviewed by Laurel
Unless you’re a south west resident Putney may not be your first port of call on your dinner radar, but SW15’s latest opening is worth the journey. Jules, a new all-day brasserie a stone’s throw from the river, is the first hospitality venture from George Porchester, heir to the Highclere Estate (otherwise known as Down-ton Abbey…).
Chef Alvaro San Millan has devised an unpretentious menu based around a list of international tapas-style dishes alongside stone-baked gourmet pizzas, charcuterie and cheeses, and a Dish of the Day. Breakfast and brunch dishes range from toast and pastries served with flavoured butters to more substantial dishes like Huevos Revueltos and the Jules Breakfast: fried free-range eggs, pork belly, mixed beansand Portobello mushrooms.
The evening menu comprises a range of tapas and small sharing plates, boasting dishes such as cod bran-dade with roast green peppers, pork cheek salad, and cauliflower, sweet potato & roast cashew nuts, while each Dish of the Day will be a familiar family favourite, prepared with a flourish and Jules’ exacting attention to detail.
The colourful, comfortable fifty-cover dining room, designed by Maria Hipwell and built by Cavendish & Redwood, will offer a range of seating areas from high bar stools perfect for a cocktail pit-stop to banquettes which invite settling in.
Perfectly formed, Jules’ fifty-cover dining room, designed by Maria Hipwell and built by Cavendish & Red-wood, features informal high bar stools as well as cosy nooks for date nights, while the staff are attentive and knowledgeable without being too overbearing, as seems to becoming the norm in restaurants these days.
This is where you might struggle. The mouthwatering menu isn’t ridiculously extensive to the point of being mind-boggling, but there’s certainly enough on there to tickle the tastebuds and make choosing a tricky decision. We asked the manager for his recommendations and ended up plumping for some dishes I never would have tried that left us pleasantly surprised. The wine list was in the midts of a switchover when we visited, but while our first choice wasn’t available we were recommended a rather delicious Spanish Val-demoreda, a new tast but one I’ll definitely be seeking out again.
The fillet of smoked sardine served with a mango vinaigrette was a refreshing, zesty slice of summer dining, followed by a slice of tuna carpaccio, drizzled in double cream, completely melted in the mouth. The Iberico ham croquetas surprisingly didn’t feature any cream or cheese, being made with a rich, warm be-chamel, but the result is a seriously moresigh bite of proper comfort food. Be warned; it’s a portion of three but you might want to order more.
Roast octopus, served on a bed of adaja - smoked paprika mashed potato - was a dish straight out of a mediterranean taverna, tender and flavoursome, perfectly followed by a pair of butter soft scallops served with crispy Iberico jamon and sautéed spinach.
The dish that surprised me most - not being a red meat fan - was the beef cheek served with blocks of cheesy polenta. In a rich gravy, it was incredibly tender, absolutely melt in the mouth and definitely a game changer. The only plate we weren’t quite as keen on was the slow cooked duck in filo parcels served with chef’s cabbage and yakitori sauce; an interesting addition to the menu, but a disjointed fit alongside the other dishes and a little disappointing on taste.
A trio of desserts appeared, featuring a rich chocolate soup with zingy passion fruit custard, white chocolate sponge with floral infusion and a light and creamy cinnamon-laced house rice pudding; all very tasty, but next time I go I would forgo the dessert and have another round of beef cheek.
Despite being open mere weeks, by the time we left after dinner the place was packed; they’re obviously doing something right. Delicious food and a great vibe - Jules is one worth journeying south of the river for.
Laurel reviewed Jules on Mon 15 May 2017