When I read that a new brasserie, Jules was opening in Putney which is independent and accessible, it was a cause for celebration at Townfish HQ. We try to champion reasonably-priced restaurants and independent companies where possible. Although, the owner isn’t in danger of having difficulties with the rent payments as he is George Porchester who is the heir to the Highclere Estate (or better know as Downton Abbey).
The beautiful green tiles have remained from its previously incarnation as a pizza restaurant, but they have done extensive work to modernise the bar area and most parts of the restaurant with a mixture of comfortable banquettes and high bar stools for those in need of a quick cocktail imbibing session.
Chef Alvaro San Millan’s menu is accessible but not necessarily simple. There is fish and chips and pasta of the week dishes for lunch, but their tapas dinner menu is filled with flair and elegance. The presentation of the food at Jules is easily one of the most instagrammable in London.
Fillet of smoked sardine is surprisingly fresh and vibrant tasting due to the tangy mango vinaigrette. It is the polar opposite of the stale canned sardine image most people have. The crisp bruschetta base also helps to elevate this dish above the standard sardine on toast variety.
Compressed tomato cubes with shitake mushroom crumb and foam is a dish you would more likely find in a Michelin-starred restaurant than a relaxed brasserie. The tomato skin has been deep-fried and used as crisps on the dish. It’s inventive, unusual with a curious mix of textures and a guaranteed favourite for vegetarians.
They do have more filling dishes too such as the classic Spanish Morcilla balls with lightly spiced apple compôte. I am not normally a fan of black pudding, but this expertly executed tapas dish will convert the doubters. The sharp, acidic taste of the apple compôte helped to cut through the heaviness of the black pudding.
It isn’t just Italian influences on the menu, but also oriental influences as witnessed by their aromatic tasting teriyaki duck in crisp filo parcels. The meat was moist and tender, although I thought the teriyaki flavours could have come through much stronger. The dish also came with the chef’s special citrus-infused cabbage.
The small plates concept does leave you room to sample their dessert menu. White chocolate sponge was enlivened by a chilled floral infusion to accompany the cake, whilst the creamy chocolate milk is one of the smoothest you will taste in SW15.
Bookings are highly recommended if you like to dine mid to late evenings, as the dining room filled rapidly from 7 pm during our recent visit on a Friday night.