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The Great Palacian FizzOff Justine Crow tries out two new bars on the Triangle,

both ideal for a sneaky after-work glass of fizz

e have had two new epicurean distractions open on the Triangle in the last few weeks and in the interests of accurate scientific research The Transmitter has put on its scrubs and conducted some of the very best evaluation tests on your behalf from the top of the beverage menu. Ultimately, the Fizz Off (as it was referred to by our experts) turned into Pop versus Posh. First the Pop. And there is lots of it at The French House: on the television above the bar in black and white as 60s stars of the French hit parade get groovy, on display with rows of vintage-labelled 45s and in our glasses courtesy of a Crémant d’Alsace, Mayerling Brut. The dainty bubbles, straw hues and refreshing bounce were not dissimilar to the swinging jeunes yé-yéing on the screen. An accompaniment of olives was provided at our request even though they weren’t on the menu and we whiled away a pleasant afternoon nursing our inner Jane Birkins and trying out the lingo on the staff. They passed. They would, being French and all. Audrey O’Neill is proud of her Alsatian roots and hopes that, as well as the food, the far-out cocktails (named after Sylvie Vartan, Francoise Hardie and naughty old Serge himself) reflect the sense of playfulness characteristic of a fondly-remembered Gallic cultural episode. Some might venture that it’s a shame they changed the record … Regional specialities include choucroute and tarte flambées along with many other well-known loved French dishes (and one not loved by all, which may just produce un petit backlash). 16

For the Posh, we took an evening window seat on Church Road at The Wine Bar at Crystal Palace Market. Until recently, the space was given over to a fishmongers and, deriving their inspiration from its previous retail life, Fabien Joly and his team provide a candle-lit and cultivated atmosphere amidst the tiles and utilitarian kitchen chic. There’s a range of spots to relax in, from breakfast bar to intimate, or you can sit Sheekey’s supper-style at the bar and indulge in the enticing offers such as a dozen oysters and two glasses of champagne for £32. There is even a choice of the revered shellfish that ranges from the brinier rock oyster to the refined classic Zeeland flat. With charcuterie and cheese on the menu as well as an excellent wine list, we were surprised at the affordability of such presumed luxury and the Prosecco Galanti Spumante we sipped was matchless – a pale, creamy treat and really good value. Good job we were on our best behaviour. So here you have the results of our stringent examination. If you fancy the border valleys mixed with a touch of St Tropez this summer, you’ll certainly dig the vibe at Audrey’s convivial effervescent emporium. If decorum and polish is more your designer bag, then Fabien’s cool wine bar has a sophisticated delectation suitable for the discerning grown-up. Santé! thefrenchhouse.co.uk thecrystalpalacemarket.com

The Transmitter Issue 40  

A South London Magazine

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