Friday 5 September 2008

Escape Bar, Railton Road, Herne Hill

On weekday lunchtimes, this quirky and slightly battered bar, opposite Herne Hill station, draws in a handful of young mothers and their noisy offspring, attracted by the spacious seats, the toy collection in the corner and the tasty food. The warm roast chicken and avocado ciabatta sandwich (£5.50), served with a sprightly green salad and honey dressing, is out of the top drawer. You can wash it down with a decent filter coffee or cappuccino for £1.50. Service by the staff, decked out in Gothic black, is friendly and easy-going, but the rock, Indie or dance music on the stereo can be too loud for a lunchtime. Still, there is free wi-fi and some sockets, where you can plug your laptop in, next to the modern leather sofas, arm chairs and tables with glass tops encasing hundreds of white pebbles. On the walls are cool, abstract paintings. But the furniture has taken plenty of knocks, the patchy maroon color scheme is a bit haphazard and the back wall is covered in garish, flowery purple wallpaper. 7/10