When a friend invited me out to try a newly-opened novelty restaurant with the promise of robot themed cocktails, a barbecue spread and drinks with names like the gee haw whammy diddle fizz and Elmo’s (tickle me) grog, I was curious to say the least.
The Toy Shop recently opened on Putney High Street and has enthusiastically embraced its childhood playtime theme decked out with plush blue sofas and chequered walls, a long bar through the ground floor and novelty menus littered with references to favourite toys of the past.
On arriving we are given a pot of hot paprika flavoured popcorn and a clipboard menu and a bottle of tap water which I thought was a nice touch and made nice change from having to ask for one.
For my first course I ordered the Cornish crab croquettes which typical of the restaurants theme came in a striped candy bag with pipettes filled with alioli, subtly encouraging diners to ‘play’ with their food.
At £7 it was a bit pricey but I have to admit, very tasty.
For the main feature we went for one of the Toy Shop’s specialities – a barbecue spread with a pile of meat and seven side dishes served on a lazy Susan board for £20 each.
Again not cheap – but for that you do get a mountain of food including….
- Pork & apple sausage.
- BBQ Lamb Marinated in rosemary and garlic
- Green asparagus grilled with pepper and olive oil
- Maize-fed chicken breast marinated in paprika, cinnamon, cumin, onions and coriander
- Roasted potatoes with rosemary, thyme and garlic
- Home made coleslaw with extra virgin olive oil, raisins, white wine vinegar and flat parsley
- Baby mixed salad leaves with dill, chervil, parsley, cherry tomato and radish
- Potato salad made with home made mayonnaise, peas, sweet gherkins, celeriac and free range eggs
- Cous cous salad with roasted peppers, aubergine, moroccan spice, raisins, mint and cucumber
- BBQ beetroot glazed with a balsamic and sherry glaze
The laid back spread suited the feel of the bar perfectly and we devoured the tasty spread – my particular favourites being the lamb steak and potato salad. (I am getting hungry just writing about it.)
As for drinks we were eager to try some of the more unusual concoctions.
Without a tequila sunrise or margarita in sight I settled on the Silly putty cobbler no.1 (£9) which was made up of Loire William eau de vie, aperol aperitif, TTS redcurrant cordial, prosecco, camomile foam, borage floret.
With a prosecco base and fruity overtones of apple and berry you couldn’t really go wrong. It was kind of like a Bellini if Heston Blumenthal had got his hands on it. (camomile foam?)
My friend however chose something a bit more off the wall – a Gee-haw whammy diddle fizz (£8.5).
The bizarre concoction, as read from the menu, was made up of coconut mushroom gin, crema citrus, orange blossom flavoured cream, champagne reduction, duck egg white, vanilla sea salt, N2O charged walnut oil, lavender, flamed marshmallows and cream soda dust.
While clearly a lot of effort has gone into sourcing such exotic ingredients, all I can say is that it tasted like watered down milk with a bit of froth on top….
As if all that wasn’t enough we somehow managed to squeeze in a pistachio creme brulee (topped with strawberries and a white chocolate robot).
The crowning moment came when Ralph the Robot was delivered to our table with flashing lights and two giant straws protruding from his booze filled interior.
At £50 it’s worth saving for a big night out with a group, but is worth giving a go for the theatrics alone.
The Toy Shop won’t appeal to everyone and is squarely targeted at the young professional types.
But if you are looking for something a bit different and a lot of fun with a friendly and laid back atmosphere you could do a lot worse than The Toy Shop.
The Toy Shop – 32 Putney High St London, Greater London SW15 1SQ, 020 8704 1188