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Rock & Rose (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of Rock & Rose in Richmond & Kew, London

106-108 Kew Road, Richmond & Kew, London, TW9 2PQ
Cuisine: Eclectic
Tel: 020 8948 8008 | Email to Rock & Rose | Transport: Richmond | Write review

Rock & Rose Review

Best for: Hen dos, Valentine’s and those who aren’t afraid to embrace over-the-top romance with gusto.

Great: Cocktails and kitsch décor.

It’s 8 o’ clock on a sun-soaked Friday evening. Swarovski crystals adorn chairs and stiletto-teetering women alike. As the soundtrack of clinking cocktail glasses and cackling conversations gains momentum, so does the excitement of the hoards of dressed-to-impress diners. But we’re not in London’s Leicester Square.

In fact, we’re in the rural realm of Richmond, better known for buggies, wealthy celebrities and dogs called Fenton. But Rock and Rose is a restaurant rooted in paradox. With décor that’s camper than Ricky Martin’s oil-dripping torso, and a menu that can’t quite make up its mind, it does its best to shirk definition.

What is in a name? Well, in the case of Rock and Rose: everything. They’ve taken the rose theme and run with it, Usain Bolt Style. Roses are dripping from the walls and scattered on the menus. And it’s precisely this garish styling – there’s velvet and velour galore – that garners appeal. I can’t help but think Lorraine Angliss (the proprietor who’s also behind Annie’s in Chiswick) is using her restaurant to seduce us. But I’m not talking about a yawn-hug-and-subtly-grope-breast-in-cinema situation. This is a hurl-you-on-the-bed-with-satin-sheets move; done by someone with a rose in their teeth; playing Spandau Ballet in the background. This is a restaurant on Viagra.

You might think with the oversexed styling going on, the food could be an afterthought. But the menu – written in fuchsia fonts, obviously – is so much of a mish mash that it’s sure to include something you want to eat. There certainly isn’t one style of cuisine: Asian influences sit next to ‘posh kebabs’ and you can follow up sashimi with Surf & Turf. But their thinking is: who cares? It’s refreshing to see a restaurant not trying too hard to piggyback a food trend. They’re just serving up things people want to eat.

The salt squid to start was in good company with zingy lime and a chilli dip. (The perfect sharing snack for girls who don’t want to ruin their appetites).The sea bass – swathed in chilli, ginger and Thai basil – was a salty summer’s dream. Even the ‘posh kebab’ trumped our expectations.

But every rose has its thorn, and if you’ve come to Richmond looking for sophistication and suburban peace, then you’re in for a bit of a shock. It’s no surprise that the restaurant is a go-to destination for hen dos and Valentine’s dates. But for the faint-hearted, the idea of having a date in this setting would be akin to attempting sex at the gynecologist’s. This isn’t a place to mull over the Sunday crossword with a deep Rioja. Or to share an intimate date with someone you’re just getting to know. There aren’t any quiet tables, and the stereotypical romance stuff hits you like a slap the moment you arrive. There’s even a sign saying ‘All you need is love’. Perhaps it should have an addendum: ‘and a mojito’.

But while endless bistros, brasseries and gastro pubs often blur into each other, Rock and Rose creates its own distinct impression. Perhaps that’s why regulars return in their droves, seduced by cocktails of the week and friendly staff. Steve, a manager we spoke to, had worked there for 4 years. He seemed to be enjoying himself - as did everyone else - and before we knew it, so were we.

This joint is part Vivienne Westwood punk, part French babe’s boudoir. Their mantra is ‘Food, passion and glamour’, and they’re embracing it with open arms (or maybe legs). As we whiled away a night surrounded by fifty shades of pink, my friend said, “I’m waiting for Cyndi Lauper to emerge from the kitchen, singing and scattering rose petals.” While Cyndi was a no-show, for girls who just wanna have fun, Rock and Rose is a pretty damn good place to start.
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Food

The menu takes the familiar and dresses it up with signature Rock & Rose style, offering well-loved dishes with a twist. Meat lovers will adore the Surf & Turf grilled steak with giant king prawns or the rack of ribs with tamarillo sauce. There's a whole grilled lobster too and a daily vegetarian risotto special.

Updated 29/04/2008

Additional Information

Rock & Rose Hire Details

Both the intimate Funky Room, with its flock regency wallpaper, or the Garden Room with its 70s rattan peacock chairs are both available for private hire.

Updated 29/04/2008

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Venue ID: 19540

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Loved

"Wife and I went here - “convinced” ThT an “upgraded experience would be worth it! Not. At. All. Complete waste of money! Decent club, but DO NOT fall into the upgrade trap!!!!! " Which venue is this?

Hated

"2.30 in the afternoon,an almost empty restaurant,I was told the only seat for me was directly opposite a guy eating a lasagna. The table sat 6 but the seat next to mine and at the end of the table might..." Which venue is this?

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