Head Here If… You’re looking for elegance in sunny SW8
For proof that there is glamour on Wandsworth Road, step inside the Blind Tiger…
First Things First
We’re not supposed to give away the location as it will be sent to you when you book, so look away when you reach our penultimate line. The reason for this secrecy is Blind Tiger is embracing the speakeasy vibe big time. Having received our texted location details we arrive to find a big black door. Moreover, after pushing the buzzer a slot in the door slides back to reveal a pair of eyes that give us the once over. Apparently we look the right sort because we gain admission and we’re led up to a dimly-lit room filled with comfy leather Chesterfields and lots of gilt edged fittings.
It’s an easy place to feel comfortable in – either dress up in 1920s attire like the waiting staff or rock up in jeans, as long as you’ve got the right attitude you’re bound to enjoy the attention to detail that’s gone into making this a fun but very grown up spot. With cocktail masterclasses on Saturdays or by arrangement, afternoon teas with Great British punches served in tea cups on Sundays and live Bluegrass, jazz and Northern Soul performances every Wednesday and Thursday, The Blind Tiger sets out to bring much needed glamour to Wandsworth Road. And succeeds.
Ms S is steered towards the Jasmine & Elderflower martini (jasmine-infused Wyborowa vodka, elderflower liqueur and dry vermouth). It sure looks pretty with its edible floral garnish but it doesn’t really do it for this cocktail lover – the jasmine seems to have overpowered the vodka, causing it to catch at the back of the throat.
The Martini comes from the “Post Prohibition” section of the menu and the recommendation is Sipsmith for “no particular reason”. Mr G is also asked if he likes it “shaken or stirred..?” It arrives in an attractive coupe glass with a very thin strip of lemon. There’s little lemon aroma and maybe it could be a touch colder but this is a minor gripe. There’s some of the vermouth up front but then the Sipsmith eases through to hang gently around into a nice long finish.
Ms S is very happy with her Blood Orange and grapefruit bellini (blood orange, Campari, Grand Marnier, grapefruit bitters, topped with prosecco). With its elaborate orange twist dangling from the champagne flute like it’s exploded from a party popper, the delicious pinky/orange drink is like a party in a glass. It tastes good too – nice and fruity with just the right amount of bitterness, she could happily order a few more.
A nice touch here is that a number of the classics come with a subtle twist. Mr G goes for the Black Cherry Manhattan. It looks good and elegant in a little wine-style goblet. It works well too with the rich cherry flavour coming through nicely without taking over. All in all a nicely balanced drink, packing a very satisfying punch.
And To Eat?
There’s no bar menu, it’s straight on to the serious stuff. The a la carte menu takes in starters like oak-smoked prawns with avocado, chilli and cherry tomato salad (£6.50), and main dishes including roast barberry duck breast, mango, mange tout, basil and cos lettuce salad with roasted almonds (£14.95), or if you know what you fancy eating ahead of arrival, chateau briand and lobster are available to pre-order.
Every Sunday there’s a tea party menu with cocktails served in teapots, daintily cut sandwiches, scones and designer cupcakes.
Look Out For
The black door (otherwise you’re lost). We also love the menu handed over in a neat gold envelope and printed on an ‘Original Prescription Form for Medicinal Liquor’. Another nice touch is the tap water served in a smart cut glass decanter complete with stopper.
What’s The Damage?
From £6.95 to £7.50.
Ms S says:
The setting is perfect for getting dressed up and settling down for alcoholic tea a deux or with a group of friends. Great atmosphere, lots of attention to detail and a lovely walled garden worth remembering for spring/summer.
Mr G says:
They’ve got the atmosphere just right. The candles, the jazzy bluesy music and lots of nice little touches here and there like the menus in gold envelopes. The menu has drinks that I’ll be definitely be back to try like the Gentleman’s Mojito made with gin and orange marmalade.
697 Wandsworth Road, London, SW8 3JF. T: 020 7652 6526