“Putney, one of the pleasantest of the London suburbs, as well as the most accessible” wrote J. C. Geikie in his 1903 The Fascinations of London.
If I’d have been heading to ‘the pleasantest of the London suburbs’ from my abode, I’d have walked to Waterloo and caught the train, and then its label as ‘most accessible’ would have been apt. As it was, I was coming from Sloane Square and that meant a 25-minute, eight stop sweaty tube journey to East Putney and then a 15-minute walk to 32 Putney High Street. Accessible yes, but not ‘most accessible.’
I was Putney bound thanks to a kind invitation to the launch of new bar The Toy Shop, and I was in Sloane Square before having a celebratory drink with my sister and mother – which I will fill you all in on at a later date. What I will tell you is we drank the most overly priced Bellinis I’ve come across…
Here’s a snap of my sister and me appreciating them…very slowly (and my mother taking the photo):
Back to Putney. I met my companion as the sky progressed from spitting to drooling rain, which resulted in me looking like a drowned rat. This was bad, but when my comrade informed me that Henry Cavill was going to be there, was suddenly very much worse.
“Superman! I can’t meet Superman looking like this!”
Luckily we had arrived early, and after being ticked off the list by two formidable looking bouncers, I walked briskly through the bar straight to the baby pink painted ladies, found the hand drier, and stuck my head under it for couple of minutes. Slightly afro, but better.
I returned upstairs and took in the surroundings properly. The bar was like being thrust into a packet of skittles; turquoise velvet sofas, yellow velvet armchairs and orange bar stools blended together in a kaleidoscopic interior. Dangling LEDs lit up individual round oak tables and waitresses glided between these wielding trays groaning with cocktails. Small ones, big ones, I’m-not-entirely-sure-what’s-in-these ones.
To the background of chequered wall paper, mixologists bore wide smiles as they created further cocktail concotions. Prosecco on draught lubricated the crowd as they waited, and a series of canapes appeased those who’d missed supper. If these were anything to go by then the bar, which will be a bar-cum-restaurant, is going to be a foodie’s haven.
Grilled prawns sprayed with a lemon grass based sauce, circular chicken liver pate and sweet jelly bites, balls of herb crusted goat’s cheese and deep-fried tomato and risotto balls, were readily devoured to the extent where the waitresses were stalked as soon as they left the kitchen. Free good food, I mean what more could you want?
Live music. It wasn’t until it arrived, that I realised that is what I wanted – which is always the best way around. Out came a drummer, who doubled as a saxophonist, and was truly sensational. Infectiously happy, this born entertainer wowed his audience, especially during a set where he played half of it with a drum stick behind his ear. Brilliant.
I had forgotten about the arrival of Superman, which didn’t actually happen. Though a friend of the owner, the A-lister unfortunately had more pressing matters – the premiere of his film in Leicester Square. Boo.
More cocktails, a stint sucking at a treasure chest, a chat with a psychic (who predicted good things! yay!) and dancing ensued and before I knew it, the launch was over and the formidable bouncers extricated us from the building. Decidedly merry, after one final farewell and thank you, I left the bar, which even if it isn’t ‘most accessible’ to me, I will be accessing again. This is a Toy shop which is definitely worth playing in.
The Toy Shop, 32 Putney High Street, London SW15 1SQ