Located in the 18th-century house sitting on Vauxhall Bridge roundabout, Brunswick House is home to chef-patron Jason Boxer. A historic setting for a chef of high pedigree: Boxer is part of that generation of cooks who was nurtured in the comforting shadow of Fergus Henderson of St John and his wife, Margot. From this we can assume that he has developed his taste and values, all shared with his co-head chef Andrew Clarke, who has time on his CV at the Anchor and Hope in Waterloo and Rita’s.
Brunswick House’s location is perhaps a reason why this spot feels somewhat overlooked. Largely seen as a pass-through, the roundabout is like a carousel – only there to throw you out over the Bridge into the big city beyond or down along the Embankment. But Vauxhall is full of unexpected gems: Italo (an Italian deli) in the charming Bonnington Square which prepares pretty unbeatable focaccias, its new Market Place (yet to visit) and certainly Brunswick House – albeit surrounded by the towering and largely vacant new-build apartments that have been seeded here at the (once) unfashionable edge of the Thames.
The building itself is worth a visit. Quirky and historic, it rests under the care of LASSCO, an architectural salvage company who rescue vintage furnishings, masonry and entire walls from historic buildings before they’re knocked down. This explains the eclectic decor of the ground-floor restaurant: an intensely romantic, high-ceilinged space lit by a suspended canopy of chandeliers, disco balls and the odd reclaimed lantern. An odd array of vintage tables and chairs are scattered throughout and everything – from the fireplace to the mirrors – is for sale. Picture old rugs, bare wooden tables, a few booths made from red-leather banquettes pushed into place and dangling from the ceiling, a myriad of old chandeliers. Much like the food, things appear thrown together randomly but make a lot of sense.
But don’t be fooled – it takes a great deal of work to pull off effortless chic. Whilst Boxer has gone on to do great things (Orasay), this is where all the magic first happened – and you’ll still find considered, surprising ingredient combinations on the regularly changing menu, ideal to browse with an apertif or cocktail in hand – particularly the sharp and piquant Mezcal Sour.
To open, we shared the Courgette fritters with cashew cream and zhoug (£10). A towering heap of bhaji-like pakoras, these were impossible to resist. Thanks to a dense texture which gave the fritters a good bite and fresh frying, plus a very well spiced creamy dip, each morcel was moreishly deliciously. This is the kind of fried food worth eating.
We also shared the Grilled Carrots, Peanuts and Chervil (£12). Beautifully earthy carrots, taken for a turn over hot coals, these were seasonal yet given an Asian flourish thanks to the peanut satay layered beneath and toasted peanuts scattered above. Full of flavour.
For mains, Grilled Celeriac, Black Truffle, Jerusalem Artichoke (£22). This is the very best of Christmas food. A hearty main – just what’s needed on minus temperature days.
Whilst I was impressed to see three vegan options on the menu, on the whole, the dishes could have been a little more substantial – particularly given the price point. My companion and I left felt not wholly satisfied. But a meal in this rustic Georgian mansion is worth savouring. It would certainly be ideal for a special occasion – whether Christmas, a birthday, an engagement…It’s the kind of spot you want to linger and spend an entire evening in.
Brunswick House, 30 Wandsworth Rd, London SW8 2LG