Powder Keg

Restaurants, Contemporary European Wandsworth
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Powder Keg

The bar formerly known as Powder Keg Diplomacy, now with more of a focus on food.

It’s official: London is obsessed with food. So much so that well-established bars have started reinventing themselves as eating places. That’s the deal here, where the popular neighbourhood hangout Powder Keg Diplomacy has ditched the Diplomacy and brought in a chef previously at fashionable tapas spot Opera Tavern to run the kitchen. Sure enough, the menu is now dominated by small plates with Middle-Eastern-slash-Med leanings.

Which is no bad thing. In fact, a few of the dishes got a definite thumbs-up. There were chargrilled prawns, served with a nicely sharp aioli and a deliciously cheesy pizzette slathered in a chunky smash-up of ripe skinned tomatoes and translucent curls of slightly salty guanciale (Italian cured pork). Also a nearly-brilliant dessert of homemade millionaire’s shortbread, the kind that really does make you feel like you just got lucky with a scratchcard: thick, decadent ganache, buttery shortbread, gooey caramel. Why they decided to serve it with a watery sorbet was beyond me (just leave this to one side).

But other dishes fell more flat: the squid ink arancini had a magnificent crunch, but all the texture in the world counts for nothing if there’s no seasoning or ‘seafoodiness’. Charred cauliflower was nice enough but plating it up with both houmous and pomegranate molasses really didn’t work. And the ‘apple tart’, though tall and attractive, turned out to be dense and doughy. There’s a life lesson in there somewhere.

Worse still, our server was overbearing and dismissive. But the setting, still a study in an ‘eclectic vintage vibe’, was charming as ever. Diplomacy or no, Powder Keg will do just fine.

By: Tania Ballantine


Venue name: Powder Keg
Address: 147 St John's Hill
SW11 1TQ
Transport: Clapham Junction rail
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £90
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Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:17
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:2
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The Powder Keg Diplomacy is a really cool and funky space. I went for a Saturday brunch and it was enjoyable. Late morning they have a brunch menu and the snack menu available so there's lots to choose from. The orange juice is freshly squeezed. Their sausage rolls and mushroom on bruschetta was quite tasty. I love their space, particularly the atrium at the back. The staff were friendly. Some of their snacks were a bit pricey though - £6 for two tiny bits of sausage roll. I've also been round on a Saturday night and it also has a great vibe with cool drinks.


Love this venue - drinks are great, food is always delicious and the staff are super trendy but lovely. Wonderful location for a first date or just if you fancy something a bit glam but not pretentious.


My boyfriend and I had been meaning to come here for a while, so I decided to book a table for our anniversary. Being within walking distance from home was very appealing!

Admittedly we were a little underwhelmed, while the decor was very fitting with London's current hipster scene and the cocktails were made with loving care the food was just a bit meh.

I'd be inclined to go again, but probably just for drinks.


I finally made it to Powder Keg Diplomacy and whilst I want to give it 4 stars, I am going to give it three. 

The atmosphere is 'uber' cool with hipsters (wrong part of town, boys) that seemed to all have handle bar moustaches, braces and brogues. The novelty does wear off somewhat and you just think its so 'hip' youre bored of it. The decor is dark but fun and I loved the teapots and cups which they serve coffees and teas in. 

The main reason I gave it three stars was because I ordered the mackerel on gluten free bread and whilst I appreciate they had some in, I loathed how much I paid (£9) for something I woofed up in about 3 bites compared to the two pals who had mountains of a full English to get through.... 

We ordered coffees after the brunch which never turned up. The moustache men were really run off their feet and personally I think three waiters who were also taking it in turns to make cocktails and coffees wasn't enough on the floor. 

Fun, nice food. Bit too self-consciously hipsterish to survive, but still fun.


A last-minute brunch location, PKD didn't disappoint. The food was standard brunch fare - nothing particularly memorable, but tasty and filling. What elevated the experience above the average was the decor (pleasingly eclectic), the tasty and affordable cocktails, and our brilliant waiter. It was certainly the most relaxed and friendly brunch spot that I've tried so far, and I would be keen to return if I need a Clapham bolthole.


I wouldn't normally recommend spending any time in Clapham..but this place is worth the visit. Great cocktail list- delicious espresso martins. Lovely venue too - a little trip back in time.

I went here recently on a Friday evening. We had cocktails, wine and then dinner in the Conservatory. I have to say that the theme isn't quite as prominent as the website leads you to believe BUT that doesn't really detract from the venue's atmosphere and décor etc - both of which are awesome! The cocktails we had were very tasty and well-presented. The bar staff were polite, engaging, helpful and really knew their stuff. The wine list is extensive - we had a bottle of fizz and two bottle of white. Everything went down a treat! It's a shame that you can't book seating in the bar area as this place is so popular that there's never enough! We had to stand the whole time, although there are coat racks and the staff for us to lean on the bar, which helped.

In terms of the dining experience; I can't fault the atmosphere or the food at all. It's unlikely to be the cheapest meal you ever eat but the prices are nevertheless fantastic value for money as (i) the food is delicious and (ii) portion sizes are generous. If I had one slight criticism, it would be that the restaurant service was slow to start with - but it soon picked up. You'll need to book a table to dine because the restaurant is - deservedly - often full to capacity.

Overall, I would highly recommend The Powder Keg Diplomacy and I hope to return again soon (possibly for brunch, which I hear is good).

We popped in for a late Saturday lunch here and were very impressed. It doesn't look much from the outside but inside it's a whole other story. The interior design and is really fun and the staff were professional and friendly; the combined the over all atmosphere manages to hit that perfect balance between smart and casual, cozy and quirky. The cocktails were fantastic, truly fantastic! And the food (we had stake) was faultless. I would recommend this place to anyone.

My new favourite brunch place! The full English is really good - or so my dinning companions tell me, as I am usually too distracted by the more creative options such as ham hock with poached egg or the salt beef hash. The breakfast cocktails are delightful and the selection of beers (and they will bring you a taster selection if you are not sure what you want) keep my boyfriend happy. The staff are friendly and happy to talk you through the various beverage options in a way that is knowledgable but not pretentious - you can tell they are quite passionate about their job.

had a meal in here on a very busy friday night, the food was amazing. I had the pheasant and a bottle of Argentinian Malbec (as recommended by our waiter). The staff looked the part and were highly attentive. The extensive beers and cocktail menu meant i can come back again and still have something I haven't tried. All in all a place to go.

Excellent food, in fact one of the best meals we had in London in quite a while. Friendly and attentive staff, and we will surely go back there.

Excellent meal for four at the Powder Keg last night; our group meet once a month to check out interesting new restaurants in Berkshire/London and this was our first visit to PKD. Excellent service; superb pre-dinner cocktails. I started with the Asparagus and lightly poached egg with poachers shavings, which was great and followed this with a vegetarian hotpot main which was also extremely tasty; my fellow diners who opted for meat mains, also raved - the lamb and the pork both getting very high ratings! Overall, excelent; great staff - top food!

This is a really lovely restaurant and bar,, we went there last night for a quick supper and drink... the food was fantastic a real food lovers menu and the whole ambience of the place is gorgeous,,,, however the most impressive thing is the lovely happy helpfull staff.. From the moment we arrived with an extremley happy staff member showed us to the table,,, little touches e.g while dithering over the wine the waitrose offered to bring two samplers to try.... we choose the indian wine and it was fantastic.... I.m sure Powder Keg will be extremely sucessful having lived in the area for 20 years and know that word of mouth amounts to loads,,,,, we will certainly be back and recommend to friends... Keep with the great staff and thx for a lovely evening .

I treated my friend to dinner there last night and wasn't dissapointed! I had fillet with pepercorn sauce and lovely fat chips with a large glass of South African red yummy! Followed by not one but two esspresso martinis, perfectly balanced and creamy. Couldn't fit any dessert but I guess i'll just have to go back...with a bigger appetite next time;) Thumbs up to the place!

Great new addition to St John's Hill - the beer selection is outrageously good, the bar snacks superb, friendly staff and a very imaginative decor and good vibe. It's very novel and original, without overstepping the mark.

I went to Powder Keg for the first time last week and was bowled over by the unique style and cool vibe. The cocktails were super innovative and i loved how the martini was presented with a side car in ice!! The food wasn't what i would normally eat. A friend of mine had the haggis fried balls which i thought sounded questionable but they were amazing and we ordered an extra plate!!! Staff were really friendly and always willing to give suggestions. All round great experience and i hope will become a regular haunt!

Loved this place! Went ot eat and was spoilt for choice by the amazing menu! Staff couldn't have been nicer or more helpful. This is what I wanted to find in my patch - a great new place to eat out which is different and has loads to offer. I really suggest you give it a try.

The food was poor, everything arrived cold and worst of all when we asked for it to be fixed the staff were rude. I would strongly reccomend this place is avoided unless you enjoy paying to be insulted.

This is a fabulous new find- the menu is interesting, the food delicious, and the ambience was warm and enjoyable. Definitely worth a visit!

Lovely place to eat! Friendly service. Went with a group of girlfriends and we each got a different dish and tasted each others. Each dish was delicious. I had the venison and loved it! Tasty and interesting desserts too! Yum! Will be back there soon.

The decor is amazing ...the food fab...love the variety and choice of cocktails and wine.... an absolutely delightful experience! Cant wait till the next time....

Fantastic service for 40 of us, makes a change for the usual corporate dining experiences, more intimate and amazingly good value for food, everyone was happy after our Christmas Party 2011 at this venue

I went to Powder Keg for my birthday with a few friends. The staff were lovely (even putting a candle in my pudding!) and the food was absolutely amazing. I was really impressed with the service and at no point did I find myself looking around for a waitress or waiter. Powder keg definitely gave me one of the loveliest birthdays and would recommend anyone to go and try it for themselves.

Always booked up...clearly a good sign! Managed to get a table and went here for dinner with friends and had a wonderful evening, I ate the pork belly which was delicious. Enjoyed the staff in top hats and braces, very fitting for the decor! We were sat in the conservatory dining room at the back which was really cosy and inviting, also just close enough to the bar to watch the bartenders shake up the drinks! Great drinks list and the cocktails were executed perfectly. St.Johns Hill really needs this new venue and think it will do very well. The pricing is very reasonable, you get what you pay for when dining out and I think that the quality of the service and food was appropriate to the price tag. I will definitely be returning again! Thumbs up from me!

another fabulous meal at the powderkeg! tasty celery sour too..who would have thought!! thanks guys and gals!

I dined at Powder Keg on Saturday with my mother, and I have to say it's some of the best food I've eaten in a long time! I had beef wellington, which was cooked to perfection followed by chocolate roulade laced with rum. It was perfect, the service was friendly and assertive too. I don't know a lot about cocktails, so I asked for recommendations from the bartenders and everything I tried was truly delicious. I highly recommend this place...I'll certainly be going back soon!!

Super place and unsure of why the comments below are bitching about the place. Great addition to Clapham. whenever I have eaten there, the food has been superb. Highly recommended.

It does have amazing decor, and the staff look the part but everytime I go in there I just feel the drinks are over priced. A small warm punch (last serving I was told) was in a teacup and only 2/3 full and for £5.50 I couldn't help but be annoyed. I ordered without looking at the menu! Another thing that gets me down is the time taken between ordering (it's table service in the bar) and the drinks arriving, more man power required behind the bar. It's all very well having table service, but I would prefer to go to the bar myself ! It has potential, just needs to tackle its week points.. I'll try it again in the new year