rtisans of fromage and street food veterans Raclette Brothers have gone for it and opened up their first restaurant – in a shipping container in SW9’s food quarter, natch.
This alpine eatery is the latest addition to a community project that’s home to 55 local and independent businesses. It can be found on the first floor and shares the level with Petare, Franzina Trattoria and Smoke & Salt.
Sit out on the terrace if it’s a balmy evening, but we advise bagging a seat inside where there are views to the dinky open kitchen and you can hear the killer soundtrack better. It may be a simple rectangular space, but it feels like we’ve been transported to a stylish ski chalet.
Rustic wooden counter-tops dot the place; there’s a pair of skis hanging on one wall and a timber wine rack runs the length of another, filled with an interesting array of European vino – many of which are vegan, vegetarian, organic or biodynamic – some are a veritable combo.
Fan of red? There’s the Donkeyjote, an easy-drinking, fruity Garnacha hailing from Navarra, or the quaffable Les Volets, a French Pinot Noir and a steal at £4.50 a glass. If white’s more your thing, opt for the light and refreshing Cave de Turckheim.
Lovers of Reblochon, Gruyère, Ogleshield and the like will be in their element, but carnivores certainly won’t be disappointed either. Serving food inspired by, you guessed it, the Alps region, founders Steve and Jamie will be championing both British and European suppliers, with regularly changing charcuterie and small plates, plus a handful of specialities. Here are 5 we gobbled down.
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Crispy rösti (v) (£3.50)
This is the ideal little snack to kicks things off. Pushing crispness to the extreme, the in-house made sauerkraut is moulded into dinky spheres and deep-fried until golden. Dunk liberally in the accompanying aioli (given an added punch by the addition of earthy and intensely mushroomy truffle) and pop in your mouth in one go. Gone before you know it.
Beef cheek (£9.50)
Who can resist slow-cooked meat? This offering is braised with a mirepoix (buttery diced veg, basically) until meltingly tender and arrives atop a velvety shallot puree, strewn with pickled enoki (a long thin mushroom) and chunks of salty pancetta. Falling apart in shreds, it balances perfectly the sweet allium, schrooms and Italian bacon – an inventive take on bourguignon.
Asparagus with pesto (vg) (£8)
A few simple words best describe this: spring on a plate. Yes, forgive the cliche. Charred white and green varieties are delicately positioned across a slick of creamy hummus. Butter bean, the base ingredient, has been enhanced in colour and flavour by the addition of fragrant wild garlic, a more mellow and grassy cousin of the common clove. Making full use of the plant, the dish is decorated prettily with its dainty white flowers. The final component, the hazelnut sauce, adds crunch and texture.
Raclette Jurassienne (£8)
Do not leave without trying this Savoyard pièce de résistance. Watch the half-moon wheel of nutty dairy rotate in a traditional melting machine as it colours and blisters. When it starts to bubble, it’s ready to be scraped into a gooey heap onto a mound of fried-off potatoes, cornichons and crisp pancetta. Is there a better mix of flavours? It’s rich, but oh so moreish.
Rhubarb mille-feuille (£5)
Layers of grenadine-poached rhubarb and skillfully piped chantilly cream sit between expertly-made pieces of compressed puff in this summery-looking dessert. Adorned with a smattering of almond slithers and edible flowers from Steve and Jamie’s allotment in Brockwell Park, these add to its prettiness. The result? A light and not too sweet finale. Perfect, in our case, for sharing.
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More info here. Open Monday-Wednesday (5-10pm), Thursday-Saturday (12-10pm), Sunday (12-9pm), at 49 Brixton Station Rd SW9 8PQ.