January 2004
Le QuecumBar & Brasserie

No strings attached. Sick of the same old pubs and bars? Why not try somewhere new and decidedly different in 2004 by sampling the live jazz guitar sounds of Le QuecumBar.

Le QuecumBar (dreadful pun) in Battersea bills itself as the UK 's only specialist Parisian Hot Club and who can argue with that? This pub in a backwater of Battersea has reinvented itself as a typically pre war (not that I was there at the time) French café right down to leaving the lights off during the day. Peering in one Sunday lunchtime I was pretty sure it was closed.

Push open the door though and you get a warm welcome from owner and manageress Sylvia Rushbrooke (even though when I went the place was physically freezing). A slackly springed front door that kept blowing open didn't help, nor did the fact that the back door to the garden behind the bar stayed resolutely gaping all afternoon despite large hints from my wife which included putting her gloves back on. There is actually a very attractive patio area outside which must come into its own on warmer days and evenings.

The décor is very French in the art deco manner and you feel invited to linger over a glass of wine or pastis. Although primarily a wine bar Le QuecumBar also serves the normal range of beers. What really sets the Le QuecumBar apart from the flock though is the food, ambience and music. This is a place for people who want to enjoy good music and company in a bar and not be deafened. Is this code for 'old people'?












Well I suppose so, but there comes a time in everyone's life when such civilised drinking becomes attractive. And anyway, the clientele is a mixed bag of all ages.

When we were there, two acoustic guitarists were working their way through some 'hot jazz numbers'. The bar is very much an homage to Django Rheinhardt and while I'm no expert, the music was good to listen and to drink to. And, of course, eat.

The food at Le QuecumBar is very bistro (a Russian word by the way). We had a tasty plate of mixed smoked meats - salami, pastramis etc all garnished with the concombre's little brother, the cornichon (gherkin). This was followed by massive bowls of mussels and French bread. The mussels were very good, only a few of them were shut, but a little overzealous shaking in the pan had broken some and sent shards of shell out into the broth. The broth was just right, creamy and garlicky and like a true French restaurant, the baguettes kept coming. I had a rhubarb crumble to finish and that, unfortunately, was a disaster. Never mind. There's a good choice of food to suit everyone and the food suits the ambience - ideal for no frills eating with friends.

Music plays live just about every night and evening but special mention must go to the Tuesday night hot jazz club jamming sessions. Battersea is, of course, a trendy little place where the dwindling remainder of authentic locals rub shoulders with those young people whose trust fund wont stretch to a place in Chelsea . Le QuecumBar's unpretentiousness is a breath of fresh air here . Fresh air mixed with hot jazz. Find them at Le QuecumBar & Brasserie

42-44 Battersea High St
London SW11 3HX