This SW6 restaurant, named after the Provence commune of Bandol, is the second offering from husband-and-wife team Sylvia Kontek and Vittorio Monge, following Margaux in South Kensington.
Located on Hollywood Road, what a stellar effort it is, Zsolt Ferencz (of Scott’s fame) curating a traditional Nicoise and Provencal menu using simple high-quality ingredients.
On entry, we were seated on a tiny table with a view blocked by an admittedly beautiful clementine tree, before being told the appetisers were meant for sharing even though our table wasn’t.
We looked longingly at the spacious zinc booths adjacent, wondering why we were sharing the smallest dining table in SW6.
An amuse bouche of tomato, onion and olive brioche accompanied a welcome drink of Prosecco while we perused the aquatic menu. Mysteriously, my fellow diner’s request for a dirty Martini could not be expedited but a dry one could, but this was to be the only negative in otherwise excellent service.
The wine list flags Bandol in both red and white, you can order other iterations by 75ml, 125ml or 175ml or carafe.
75ml glasses…. where else can you drink Montrachet for under a tenner in London? Ok, Chassenet-Montrachet not Puligny, but happy days nonetheless.
We dived into the seafood selection. From the carpaccio selection, we ordered expensive octopus with chilli, lemon dressing – the spring onion giving it a superb texture (£15.50). It was worth the price tag as were all the dishes.
Next to the sharing course: a generous plate of petit friture de poisson (basically fritto misto): the prawns were as succulent as the aioli was bland.
For mains, roasted seabass and roast tomoatoes (£20) with the clever addition of scampi was faultless. Fillet of Saint-Pierre with artichokes, capers and beurre noisiette (£25.5) was very satisfactory along with a 2012 Bandol Blanc.
The creamed spinach was featherweight and fluffy defying the dairy, only the Provencal baby potatoes were disappointing: a little dry, wrinkley and unappetising.
For closure, the crème brûlée had too much lavender, but the tart Tropezienne with berry compote was big enough for two, we washed the perfectly baked bun down with a delightful 2012 Jurançon Moelleux. Brigitte Bardot’s favourite dessert just became ours.
On exit from our obscured table, we discovered that Bandol’s interior is as top spec as the food. Very urban, lots of copper and zinc, it is stunning.
Bandol, 6 Hollywood Road, SW10 9HY