There’s something inspiring about Brunswick House. A proud but tatty Georgian mansion, it sits stubbornly amongst the looming, ever-multiplying tower blocks of Vauxhall, refusing to let the churn of modernity and encroaching flashiness knock it from its precarious perch. You imagine that more than one billionaire developer has gazed upon the prime Thameside footprint this shabby old building takes up, and shook their fists in rage upon hearing of its protected Grade II* listed status.
In 2010, Brunswick House finally started getting some serious love. Long after its time as a working men’s club had come to an end, and following on from a few years spent as a squat, brothers Jackson and Frank Boxer hosted a six month pop-up in the building, which was then – and remains – home to architectural salvage experts Lassco. Well over a decade down the line, Jackson is still there (his brother popped off to run the equally-loved Frank's rooftop bar in Peckham), casually running one of the most well-respected restaurants in London.
As atmospheric rooms go, it’s one of the capital’s headiest; a little Mick Jagger in Performance, a little Angela Lansbury in Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
One of the best things about sharing your space with an antiques dealer is the endless, ever-changing decor options. Two trips to Brunswick House are seldom alike. The walls, which are one evening covered with giant Art Nouveau advertising for obscure French chocolate brands, will boast vintage theatre posters, or gigantic maps, the next. A mainstay are the chandeliers, an embarrassment of them drip from the ceiling in shiny gold and glimmering crystal, alongside hanging plants and blousy brocade curtains. Leftfield 1970s disco tracks play unobtrusively, but loud enough for your coolest mate to nod along and tell you that they have them all on 12”. As atmospheric rooms go, it’s one of the capital’s headiest; a little Mick Jagger in Performance, a little Angela Lansbury in Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
The food is equally indulgent, and pleasantly retro. Gorgeous house potato bread came with a mighty and vivid green quenelle of wild garlic butter, which one might easily confuse for a scoop of pistachio ice cream, while punchy devilled eggs are scattered with roe. Food here befits the room’s vintage surroundings, with a raw dexter beef dish gooey with smoked bone marrow and on a bed of benito mayo was far more refreshing than raw cow meat has any right to be. A raw asparagus salad too sees the vegetables shaved into strands, zinging with bitter punatrella, cucumber and a green goddess dressing. A decadent, some might say unhinged, glazed and fabulously fatty pork jowl was then shared between two, slathered in an unholy trio of mojo rojo, smoked maple tare and almond mole, and made into sloppy, fatty tacos with lettuce, which came served in a bountiful bowl of bracingly fresh greens.
The wine list is super approachable, with glasses starting at an affordable £5, but we’re most taken by a sweet sloe gin, apricot and lime cocktail named after local lad Charlie Chaplin, who was born in nearby Walworth. Potent, peculiar and absolutely dripping in history, it’s a lot like the sensational Brunswick House itself.
The vibe You’ll find couples, suits, big groups and dates all getting stuck in together at this bohemian dreamland.
The food Slightly retro cuisine, which spans devilled eggs, lamb rump and fantastical creations from local south London chef Jackson Boxer.
The drink Cocktails are offered at every opportunity; with seasonal specials such as rhubarb and saffron sours among the well-done classics.
Time Out tip Visit the pleasantly spooky, ye olde crypt below the main dining room, which has its own bar and hosts regular jazz nights.