The Toy Shop, Putney
feel of the coolest Soho opening. Imagine the good bits – the décor that’s finally different to everything we’ve been seeing recently, the quirky cocktail combinations that make you realise you haven’t seen it all, and the various (soon Instagram splattered) surprises that pop up throughout the night. Now subtract the pretentious barmen, the inability to ever get a table, and the erratically exclusive door policies. You’re left with The Toyshop Bar, not in Soho but in South West London’s Putney. With big plans to expand into brunches and daytime events, this recently opened venue begs to be discovered.
Finally, a date that doesn’t involve deciding whether you should eat before, suggest dinner afterwards or have your pick from an extensive choice of, well, burger or lobster. Served tapas style, the delicate dishes are best sampled on a slightly quieter mid week date, when you can sit and work your way through delights including goat’s cheese lolly pops, Cornish crab croquettes or hot king prawns. None of these will be presented to you in a conventional way – think pipettes, skewers and atomisers. Intrigued? It certainly provides conversational material if you’re still warming up.
Oh the games you can play in this place! Call ahead and get a banquette seat, bright blue cushioned things which will welcome you to sit close but not on top of each other, yet. Reach for your menus and make witty comments to one another about the names of the cocktails, then coo over them when they arrive, swap sips, and realise that they’re about to go straight to your head. Guys suck it up, you can’t have a beer here – there’s one cocktail served in a hip flask so, if you’ve got a point to prove, go for that one. Stay here for the evening, nibble on the plates of food as they come, work your way through a substantial selection of cocktails, then head home pronto, because you’re already at the pinnacle of Putney.
This place is wasted on anyone wanting to order a vodka and slimline tonic.
4.5 This clever little place oozes sex appeal yet is so saccharine sweet you won’t realise the sugar rush until you’re snogging each others faces off.