Upstairs at the Department Store

Upstairs at the Department Store is a members club that offers a social space and opportunities to discover new friends. The joining list seems to be long as one of us waited a few months before finally being admitted. We are not clubbing people – any sort of clubbing people – but this place offered us the opportunity to book some social spaces for private hire and some spectacular views over Brixton (summer only). The bar is always packed and the restaurant offers a range of interesting food and is linked to the two on the ground floor – Canova Hall and Bellefields (both reviewed in this blog). We went with Brixton friends so we could try as many things as possible, but that wasn’t how it ended up.

Two of us chose gnocchi and the other two the beef tatare. The gnocchi comes with beurre noisette, a parmesan crisp, and wild mushrooms. Gnocchi are always a bit hit and miss – these were light and fluffy, and dare I say it this early into the menu, one of the best things we ate. The beef tartare came with a cointreau cured egg yolk, caponata and a sesame crisp with a sprinkling of pink leaves. The dish was fine but the main complaint was – where is the beef? It was more of a veggie tartare – nice but an affront to the trades description act.

Again our group went for just two dishes – the filet mignon and the duck. The beef came with spinach, brioche, porcini hash browns (delicious) and what was called a “truffle demi-glaze”. All these extra ingredients were good, but the beef could have been rested for longer as it was a bit tough despite having the right sharp knife. The duck was similar – needed more resting and a bit more of a crisp skin.

We liked the spinach and chips and those plates were empty at the end of this course.

We did order desserts but forgot to take a photo. Posh apple crumble, sticky toffee pudding, and an even posher creme brulee. We liked them all.

We washed everything down with sparkling water, a bottle of red wine, 2 glasses of white wine and a sherry. All of which were expensive (£77.50) but we did choose an expensive-ish red. The total bill came to £326.81 for four including a service charge. But this was a whole meal, lasting a few hours and very relaxed. If you choose alcohol wisely then the bill will be significantly reduced – about £62 per person. Members only can make a reservation so you may be treated as a guest. In that case do not turn it down.

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