BROOME & DELANCEY: AT CROSS STREET PURPOSES IN BATTERSEA
I always get a dread shiver when I read of a new London opening claiming to combine “Parisian glamour with New York vitality” The last time someone had the temerity to make this comparison, I ended up at St Germain in Farringdon having one of the worst meals of recent times.
Now it’s the turn of South London and Broome & Delancey, a brand new brasserie in Battersea, to trumpet itself as London’s answer to that thing that New York does so well, even taking upon itself the name of two of The Lower East Side’s most well known streets.
Unfortunately, the name is about its only link with New York, because despite its hubris, Broome & Delancey has more in common with St Germain than it does with Balthazar or Pastis.
The same vast amount of money has apparently been spent on the cavernous dining room with its leather booths and tiled floors and the same thought has gone into constructing a menu that has all the necessary staples for Manhattan brasserie dining, including Coq Au Vin, steak, duck confit and salads alongside small plates and sandwiches
If only the same attention to detail went into the cooking. The chef at Broome & Delancey is the wonderfully named Canadian, Wyatt Shevloff who, their website tells me, has travelled extensively. Judging by the food that passed in front of me, his mind is either still on its travels or he left his cooking chops out on the road, because I was presented with two shoddy versions of simple but classic dishes.
I am a great fan of the American style shrimp cocktail and made well, with plump shrimp and a fiery sauce combining ketchup, mayonnaise and horseradish it is a glorious thing. Here, an acceptable amount of fresh crayfish was doused in a sauce that resembled Kensington Gore and tasted oddly musty as it leaked down into the shreds of gem lettuce at the bottom of the dish.
A hamburger too can be a wonderful thing, good quality meat, proper fresh accompaniments and the delivery system of a decent bun. Broome & Delancey’s version came on poor quality bread, which still managed to have more texture than the meat. The beef came cooked closer to well done than the ordered medium, the over charring from the grill hidden under a tough blanket of stringy cheese. The crunch of raw onion could have helped, but instead a sugary, sweet brown slick slid off to mix with one of the most shameful attempts at a side salad I have encountered in a long time.
Any leeway I might have given for the fact that they had been open for less than a week was lost when I realised I was the only one in the place to demand the kitchen’s attentions and because one of the staff told me that they had been full every night since opening, so the cooks should have had enough practice by now. This is hardly rocket science and you can find short order cooking of a better standard than this in diners on just about every corner of Manhattan.
The bill, including a bottle of mineral water and service, which was efficient and good-humoured came to £20.
So, not quite a little bit of New York in Battersea then, but with its mediocre take on classic brasserie cooking, Broome & Delancey is all to depressingly mid-level London dining.