This is the worst dining experience I have ever had. The food was average at best, the service was appalling, the staff were incompetent and rude. The manager was particularly awful and finished our evening by saying that we should not of had 2 bottles of wine if we were not happy with the meal. Wine, which I had to go to the bar to collect myself as the waiters had gone AWOL. The menu came after requesting twice and 45 minutes after our arrival. The first course took 2 hours to be served. The idea that this was meant to be a French themed restaurant is absurd and an embarrassment. In fact the owner should be done for false advertising. My mother was visiting and it almost ruined the whole weekend however the following day we went to two proper restaurants with good food and excellent service. I shall send the manager to these restaurants for training.
© Michael Grieve
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Tue Jun 26 2012
The Upstairs experience is more than a little confusing for first-timers. A doorway on a residential street takes you into what was formerly someone’s home. With original fireplaces and minimal furnishings enlivened simply by feature walls of bold wallpaper and block colour, the makeover feels thinly disguised. The set menu is diminutive: each starter and main is a list of three ingredients, with no clue as to what form or proportions it will take. For example, ‘pork, fennel, Jersey Royals’ sparked a hunt for the fennel, which turned out to be tiny cubes of jelly among an elaborately stacked portion of pork belly, loin of pork, artichoke heart and potatoes. ‘Lamb, aubergine, tomato’ contained a sliver of tongue, which was tender and delicious but may have proved off-putting for some. For pud, ‘Rhubarb and ginger’ included a pleasantly surprising ginger beer foam that left the mouth tingling. Chef Martyn Reynolds certainly has a wealth of skill at his disposal, with each dish a complex mix of flavours, textures and craftsmanship. At times, though, skill dominated the ingredients, leaving us a little unsure as to what we’d eaten. A hefty bill at the end (wine costs extra) felt fair taking the food into account, but a bit steep in terms of the setting.
Cocktail, 6 course tasting menu, wine & coffee £59
A cocktail followed by a 6 courses tasting menu with matching wines, a coffee and petits fours. Please note that all guests must order the same menu.
Offer valid until Apr 30 2014
Upstairs 89B Acre Lane, entrance on Branksome Road
- Venue phone:
020 7733 8855
- Venue website:
- Opening hours:
Dinner served 6-9.30pm Tue, Wed; 6.30-10pm Thur-Sat
Tube: Clapham Common tube or Brixton tube/rail
Set dinner £28 2 courses, £35 3 courses, £41 4 courses
- 89B Acre Lane, entrance on Branksome Road
- 020 7733 8855
- 89B Acre Lane, entrance on Branksome Road
Average User Rating
3.5 / 5
- 5 star:5
- 4 star:2
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:3
If you want to hang around a residential street in the dark waiting for someone to answer the door as the bell is broken, then wait 2 hours for your starter then be insulted by a self important, arrogant and donwright rude owner then be served with average and look warm food then this must be your place of choice! Dreadful. I would give it minus stars if there was that option.
My parents were visiting from New York and I thought I'll show them some London style speakeasy. They are fussy and hard to please living in one of the best town in the world for quality food and service! In all honesty I was a little nervous when I couldn't find Upstairs, walking up and down Acre Lane! The proprietor must have seen us from the windows above as he came to fetch and husker us Upstairs. From then on it was a delight, a gorgeous round table on the first floor (used to be a bar but is now used for dinning), really charming service, and Michelin star level cooking. We were at l'Atelier de Robuchon that same week and did not have a better meal. The Tuna starter was probably one of the best dish I've eaten in the last couple of years, Onglet was cooked to perfection with an amazing Pomme Anna made with bone marrow. We all agreed how short and concise menus are often a sign of quality and attentiveness. Apparently it changes every other week or so, another reason to be back there soon. Needless to say I have scored some very strong brownie points with my folks. Thank you Upstairs!
After reading what Time Out had to say about one of the hottest "local dinner topics" (we live in Brixton and so most of our friends), I decided to try for ourselves, the wife and I. I never quite understand the obsession with "boxing" in restaurants as Posh, not Posh (what is it then, working class?), such an over used word. We loved the discreet entrance and the unassuming charm it gave to our evening (it was a surprise and my wife loved the "speakeasy" feel). You can feel the owners have taken a great care into all the details, it feels really personal. Agreeing with most reviews below, the food was packed with intricate flavors and the portion were perfectly descent within the overall concept of the meal. We felt spoiled by the service, independently run with a real feel for the punters, a departure from a recent visit to Hix in Soho where we had an abysmal meal and service for the same kind of money. Seeing that Hix is highly rated by Time Out, I am wondering how much fashion and trends play a part in their reviews. Anyway we will back as soon as we can. Not cheap but Brixton Village deals with the cheap side of life for us, Upstairs is on a different culinary planet and worth every penny we spent there. Thank you for sticking it up in Brixton.
After having read the negative ratings on this site I was quite unsure to go to the upstairs. As Brixton locals we love going out and the only french nice resto we knew was before the les trois garcons which is quite a long journey from Brixton. So we tried and definitely regretted not having found that place earlier! The food was outstanding (we are both veggies) so we ate as starter some special mushrooms (the starter was quite a lot) and as a main Alexanders lasagne, the best vegetarian lasagne I have ever tried. The service was outstanding, the French staff explained every single ingredient of the dishes and was extremely quick. The atmosphere was also very nice, we sat at the table with a nice view to the Acre lane and direction Victoria, we quite appreciated it because of the huge windows. I definitely think it is fantastic to have such a place in Brixton, where I so far always missed the real French cuisine with the English twist. 5 stars! BTW, in the end we only paid 65 pds for a three course menue, which is totally fine for the superb quality of the dishes.
Our second time there and this time we were in the intimate bar area. Great service and chatty waiters. The food was beautiful - especially the veggie options. The portions are restrained - but the flavour is packed in. I think for the price it's great value for such quality food.
I was there on Valentines night, my first one out in years and Upstairs did not disappoint. It was expensive (£55 each for amuse bouche, 3 courses and chocolates with coffee) but I think worth it. (That menu is usually £35 per head). The bar area was acting as overflow for the restaurant for the evening and we were well looked after by our waiter even though they were extremely busy. The wine was fantastic and the ambience just right. The dessert was delicious, but ill advised presentation saw chocolate mousse dragged across a plate and dusted with nuts... Would definitely return, a gem for Brixton and also at the end of our road, hurrah!
Upstairs is our local, at the end of the street, and we eat there at least every couple of months. The food is never less than excellent, the menu always offers a choice of superb dishes - whether meat, fish or vegetable and one struggles to think where one could eat and drink better for the money. The place has been a runaway success since the day it opened and recently the downstairs 1st floor bar was opened out to virtually double the restaurant seating space. For Brixton, Upstairs is an asset, and by any standards it is a superb restaurant.
VERY DISAPPOINTED AND TERRIBLE SERVICE!!!! - We made a booking a week in advance to ensure a friend visiting from Australia would have somewhere nice to eat for dinner after hearing a good review about this place. However once we arrived and confirmed our booking, we were asked to wait and stand on one side near the bar. The place was already small and crowded and our party of 6 were crammed in one area. After waiting at least 10-15 mins and still not seated, I asked the owner how much longer it would be. He said it wouldn't be much longer while they get our table ready and made us wait again. Finally I confronted the manager again after waiting a further 10-15 mins and he then confessed saying that he had overbooked and were not able to sit us for at least another hour and a half. This was totally unacceptable to me as this should have been mentioned to us right from the beginning instead of making us wait for no reason. To add to further fury, the customers who had taken our table (only because they arrived minutes before us) did not even have a confirmed reservation and they were allowed to stay and dine. We were not even offered any beverages at the bar while we waited. After reading all the previous comments, I am now glad I didn't eat there due to its simple and overpriced menu nor would I have been happy to pay service charge after being treated so poorly as a customer. SHAME ON THIS ENTIRE ESTABLISHMENT FOR MAKING WHAT WAS SUPPOSE TO BE A GREAT NIGHT WITH FRIENDS TURN INTO A DISASTER TRYING TO FIND ANOTHER VENUE FOR DINNER AT THE LAST MINUTE. MY FRIENDS AND I WILL NOT RETURN!
Being French I have quite high standards in food, but I must say the food was correct, some dishes really nice actually - but still I think it's well overpriced!!