Bespoke bars, fanciful food trimmings, a venue steeped in musical history and a plush velvet clad cinema to boot? Barnes might not be your first thought for a night out in London, but thanks to the Olympic Cafe and Dining Room, an upheaval of cool is coming in this affluent area; and we don't just mean Ronan Keating's residence here.
Given a charming tour of the entire venue with thanks to a rather sprightly hostess, we got to see just why this venue is so unique. You'll be hard pushed to find a space like this in the centre of the city, boasting so many of the slick amenities that Olympic does. From a farmhouse feel main dining room with cocktail bar and pastry deli, brimming with washed mint tones and rustic furniture, to a tuck shop prepped red velvet cinema, Olympic leaves you gasping for more.
Those looking for a tipple have a great choice between the oh so exclusive private members bar; a space of beamed high ceilings, decadent chandeliers and plush premium furniture or the top level music room where washed exposed brickwork and a brushed metal bar awaits. Oh and did I mention that this used to be a famous recording studio with the likes of George Harrison and Jimi Hendrix having once graced its walls? I have now!
The Food and Drink
My dining chum and I arrived on empty stomachs and practically nawing at our menu's, but thanks to an attentive selection of staff and a charming, classic British menu, we were in food based glee in no time. Starting with deep fried squid for a mere £5 and following up with hanger steak at another pocket friendly price of no more that £15, I was impressed by not only our waitresses dish recommendation but the food itself. Rich, indulgent and locally sourced; even a celeriac and rosemary soup had my pesky Pescatarian dining partner happy.
So how about those lovely liquids? From classic cocktails to one of the most extensive and eloquent red wine menu's i'd laid my eyes upon, it's clear that Olympic source bespoke bottles and cater for original tastes, complimenting dishes and diners like. Nabbing a Moscow Mule and Cosmopolitan for around the £8 mark, cocktails at Olympic are affordable and handmade the like.
A Wednesday night? Who the heck goes out on a Wednesday night? Well, everyone in Barnes apparently. Considering that Olympic is under a month into opening, every table was brimming with post-work businessmen, cinema fore goers and dining couples, an amazing feat considering its newbie status. With dining tables awash with candles and a lovely buzz overshadowing the evening and restaurant area, Olympic was laid back and fun, yet clearly something a little more special than your trip down the local boozer. All heightened by a incredibly attentive and charming selection of staff members that made our night all the more special.
I knew nothing of Barnes before I arrived, other than knowing that cows are housed well within in them. But thanks to Olympic, their endearing customer service, opulent rooms and attention to decorative detail, this bar-cum-restaurant-cum cinema was just the place to put Barnes on my mind map.