Friday night and there is a buzz to the Upper Richmond Road in East Putney - new restaurants are popping up and a welcome newcomer is Roxie. Situated about halfway between East Putney Tube and Putney High Street.
Roxie's is owned by South African husband and wife team, Richard and Sue Hollway, who have joined forces with "restaurant supremo" & manager, Rui Espanhol. Richard & Sue found that fifteen years ago, not long after touching down on UK soil the red meat cravings struck. They say:
"The stark choice soon hit home though – either enjoy a decent cut of meat or pay rent for a week. A tough one, but not as tough as the steak we ended up wasting our precious Rands on".
(internal shot courtesey of Roxie's)
Richard spent a lot of his spare time visiting Smithfields meat market to test meat and find the right supplier. An arduous process, but worth the schlep in the end. Hugh and his team are more than just suppliers; they are an integral part of Roxie. There are already two popular restaurants in Fulham & Earlsfield and Putney is their hat-trick!
By 8pm Roxie's was nearly full. There is plenty of seating for couples or groups of friends from traditional tables to banquette booths and a long, raised table in the middle that would seat up to ten. Apparently groups of up to 20 can book the downstairs grill room, which has a great vibe, being next to the open kitchen. Perfect for business lunches too.
The restaurant has a Manhattan loft style decor, bare bricks, white tiles, wooden tables, funky lighting & welcoming staff. We ordered thai beef salad (£4.95) and a grilled salt & pepper calamari (£5.45) with aioli.The thai beef salad was a generous portion (it can be had as a main dish as well) and the
calamari was well presented.
We are both serious carnivores. The light (7oz) fillet (£11.95) with mushroom sauce (£1.95) (there are four sauces to make your choices from) with a side of mash, plus grilled courgettes and sauteed mushrooms to share was my husbands choice. I opted for the 10oz sirloin steak (£13.95) (pictured right) simply served with french mustard- it was so nice not to have to say "hold the chips! (But they can be ordered at £2.95). The steaks were cooked perfectly to our requirements and were extremely tender with a strong flavour.
The wine list has a great range from around the world with an obvious bent to the wines of south Africa - we thoroughly enjoyed our bottle of Hartenberg Cab Shiraz from Stellenboch (£29.50) which the menu recommends as their favourite. It was full flavoured with a rich berry taste - I'd certainly order it again.
Not normally one for desserts I could not help myself but ordered the poached pear with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice-cream (£5.25) when the waitress said the chocolate was to die for. I was bemused when it arrived as the chocolate sauce appeared to simply be a decoration on the plate (see left ) but when I cut open the pear & discovered the contents I totally understood (see right). My husband a generous portion of chose the apple and cinnamon crumble which was fragrant with sultanas.(£4.95)
With a glass of fresh mint tea (£2.10) and an espresso (£1.95) plus sparkling water (£2.95) the total bill was £95.20. I would certainly recommend booking and giving the steaks a go - I should point out that there is a vegetarian option , plus a chicken and fish dish, but it is what it says on the restaurant canopy" a steak restaurant".
Sue Hollway says:
“Our aim is to introduce a new steakhouse concept which is attractive to everyone. We wanted to create restaurant concept that we would love to eat at as often as possible!”