2 Battersea Rise,
This little gem of a place on Battersea Rise, has an intimate feel to it. Once you're through the door, you can either descend into Entrée's Bentley Bar, or take the stairs up to the small-scale restaurant. Our bellies were grumbling, so we headed up to restaurant level, which already had a fair few diners sating their hunger at 7pm on a mid-week evening.
Before we got as far as the food, we took it upon ourselves to order two negronis from Entrée’s cocktail list. The list has been devised by head bartender, Pasquale Fais (formerly of Lonsdale House, Hoxton Pony and Pinchito). If it’s possible to apply the phrase ‘Phwroar!’ to a cocktail, then this was our reaction to the very first sip of our negronis. Adult, gutsy, dry and smokey - they reeked of an experienced hand. What more can you ask of a cocktail? Not much, but ours were delivered in antique glasses, and finished with swirls of orange peel and huge hunks of ice, hand-cut to fit each glass. Besides wanting very badly to steal the antique glasses, the huge hunks of ice served us well. I’m a slow drinker, and nursed my negroni (which was, by the way, as strong as an ox) until the end of my meal. The last sip was still just as satisfyingly cool as the first, so hand-chiselling ice is fine by me.
If you love nursing a cocktail or two, it’s worth noting that Entrée's Bentley Bar, nestled beneath the restaurant, is every bit as stylish as the antique glasses the cocktails are served up in. It’s a small slip of a space, but perfect for understated drinks with the company of your favourite people. Dark muted tones, conjure up that New York speakeasy style, making it easy to settle in for the night and not worry about drinking anywhere else. (After 3 negronis here, you might not actually be able to stand up to go and drink anywhere else).
When we eventually did stop dribbling over our cocktails, we tucked into starters of soused Cornish mackerel with beetroot & potato salad (£6.50) and Cashel Blue cheese, endive & cashew nut salad with confit garlic dressing (£6.00). Both were delicious with the beetroot and mackerel tasting beautifully fresh and the Cashel Blue salad winning on the indulgence front. Our main dishes weren’t disappointing either. Opting for the fish of the day (plaice with French beans, parsley sauce and Jerusalem artichokes), and the rib eye of 35-day Galloway beef with béarnaise & thrice cooked chips (£19.50), we were full to brimming.
But, as ever, there’s always room for pudding – I managed to make room for a tangy lemon posset, which came complete with poached rhubarb and jelly (£5.00), whilst my dining partner warmed a glass of brandy in his hands. As we sat there, letting our food go down, countless joggers, dog walkers and passers-by stopped to scrutinise the menu on Entrée's door. Whilst it’s early days for this new venture, there’s enough local interest to keep a good place like Entrée afloat. Owned and operated by 30 year-old Jayke Mangion, this restaurant & bar is in good hands. With a healthy number of years under his belt running venues across Japan, Australia and Europe, Entrée is his baby, and one that he’s excited about nurturing. A fair amount of his own elbow grease has gone into the place (he laid the floor himself, and sweet-talked friends & family into helping out). Offering up a well-run restaurant and a cocktail list that actually manages to make your tongue swoon, you get the impression that it's only a matter of time before Entrée gets the recognition it deserves.
**Reviewed by:** Helenka Bednar