2 Bellevue Road,
Tel: 020 8672 0114
Food type: French
Food rating: 6/10
Nearest tube: Clapham South/Balham, Wandsworth Common (overground train)
Website: Chez Bruce
It is hard to classify whether Chez Bruce is the perfect neighbourhood restaurant or a destination place for every foodie’s map. Located on the former site of Harvey’s in Wandsworth where Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay had many a running battle, Chez Bruce has been popular with the locals at Wandsworth since 1995.
Bruce Poole (no surprises as to where the restaurant gets its name from) who has been cooking at Chez Bruce since it first opened his door, has trained under the watchful eyes of, first, Simon Hopkinson (Bibendum) and subsequently Philip Howard (the Square). His career as a chef might not have taken off had he not decided to make a swap from front of house for the cooking stove at the not so tender age of 26.
The plaudits came quick and swift and by 1999, Chez Bruce gained a Michelin star which it has since held on to. It was also at this time that Poole, alongside business partner Nigel Platts-Martin set up the Glasshouse in Kew Gardens (watch this blog for an upcoming review of this restaurant) and subsequently La Trompette in Chiswick two years later. Surprisingly, Chez Bruce has been nominated by the Zagat Survey as the ‘Best London Restaurant’ in 2008, breaking Gordon Ramsay’s 7-year stranglehold on this award. Even more absurd is its nomination by the same guide as ‘Europe’s Top Restaurant’ in the 2009 edition with a hefty score of 29/30 – a score higher than any restaurant in Paris. Getting a booking here has been tricky in the past with their ridiculous booking policy of only taking bookings up to a month in advance. Thankfully that has changed, and combined with the ongoing credit crunch, getting a table here is not as difficult as in the past.