Even if you’re not wedded to going out in your own area, you might not automatically think of visiting Streatham for a night out. But having spent an evening at a jazz venue there, I would urge you to make the extra effort it might require.
The Hideaway lives up to its name. Although a sat nav guided us to its car park, on foot it’s tucked discretely away in a quiet road off the high street.
It’s got typical club features of queuing to pay the entrance fee at a booth (£5 – £15) and then enduring another queue for the cloakroom but once properly inside, the venue is impressive. The large low-lit space has a swanky feel punctuated with regular decorations of an orange keyhole motif. Next to a squidgy sofa section, an array of tables faces the stage. For a cocktail or place to chat, the bar area is furthest from the action but the glass separation means you won’t miss out on the performers.
Settled at a cosy corner table close to the impressive set, we admired the glimmering grand piano and saw the audience gradually swell.
The Hideaway’s accolades include winning the Parliamentary jazz award in 2011 and it showcases ‘the best jazz, swing, soul and blues in London’. I have a mixed history with jazz, it occasionally having a soporific effect on me if I struggle to find the tune but I thought a Whitney Houston tribute would be a safe bet. More than safe, the performance by eight-piece band Soul Purpose was fantastic. Two female vocalists took turns to belt out Whitney’s hits transforming the buzzy atmosphere to electric.
Despite being a proficient multi-tasker, this is one occasion where I wish we’d finished our dinner before the band started. As well as a sensory overload, I found it impossible not to move in time to the musicians’ enthusiastic bopping – a strange sensation while eating.
Nevertheless, the food was good. My companion had a light smoked salmon millefeuille with a beetroot salad, which was refreshing but bland in comparison to my choice. A creamy goat’s cheese and walnut brulee was spread on garlic crostini and complemented perfectly by spiced pear. The mains were huge but the batter on my fried fish lacked crunch and the chips more accurately resembled potato wedges. However, my companion’s ribeye steak with mushroom stroganoff prompted an enthusiastic reaction. The winning pudding was a melt in the mouth banoffee cheesecake with a brandy, banana and caramel sauce.
Full to the brim, the break in the set gave us just enough time to digest before an active round two. ‘We rage’ announced the band leader, much to the delight of the crowd which took no encouragement to leap into dance mode at the sides of the tables.
The venue also hosts comedy nights if that’s more your thing, but whether listening or laughing, the Hideaway is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.
2 Empire Mews
Tel: 020 8835 7070