It's not always easy to find restaurants which serve reasonably priced, imaginatively prepared food in a chic and relaxed setting.
Too often you have to pay an arm and a leg for a decent dining experience, or else you go cheap and leave feeling bloated, underwhelmed and dissatisfied.
But away from the bustle of Streatham High Road, one eatery is striking the perfect balance between value and high end dining. Nineteen has an eclectic selection of wholesome yet innovative dishes which will leave you with cash to spare, unless like me you're greedy and you opt for a dessert on top.
I chose the Chicken supreme (£13.50) which comes with olive mash, pancetta and succulent pieces of bacon in a gravy sauce. I added a tray of roasted baby vegetables (£2.80), which complemented the sweet warming flavours extremely well.
My dining partner selected the buffalo spiced chicken burger (£10.95) from the specials menu, which arrived with hand- cut chips, onion rings and salad.
We were not disappointed. The burger in particular was ideal if you're eating on a budget but looking for a slightly more refined dining experience, while the chicken supreme had the perfect mix of sweet and sour flavours with a joyously light texture. I could’ve eaten two portions.
Still eager to have my fill, I ordered the hot chocolate fondant with cherry ice cream (£6.50). It literally oozed indulgence (thick chocolately sauce bursts out from inside the sponge) and the sour ice cream adds a nice contrast.
Needless to say, I just about polished the whole thing off alone. My fellow diner was far too full from his main course to be as extravagant as me, but he did order a pot of tea (£1.35) which he said was very nice!
Meanwhile I opted for the alcoholic option and chose a raspberry cosmopolitan (£6.50), which customers can get on a 2-4-1 deal between 5-7pm during the week.
The restaurant’s manager, Matt, later told me he is more than happy for people to come in for a few drinks if they don't want a full-blown meal. My cocktail’s sweet and fruity taste meant the alcohol was fairly well hidden. A lethal combination but very enjoyable.
Overall the restaurant is just what you want from a sophisticated local bistro; tasty, filling (and affordable) food served up in a classy setting. Nineteen is putting Streatham back on the map. Nineteen 19 The High Parade Streatham High Road SW16 1EX Tel: 020 8835 8285 www.atnineteen.co.uk