1 Battersea Rise
, London, SW11 1HG
Lurking in deepest leafy Chiswick, the original Little Bird will have flown under many a discerning drinker’s radar, more’s the pity. Landing on SW11’s prime bar strip, owner Lorraine Angliss should win the brand more admirers with her follow-up lounge. As before, Robinson Crusoe beachcomber-chic that could easily veer towards tiki-tacky in less confident hands sets the World of Interiors-worthy tropical private island scene for stylish cocktails. Limber up with All That Jazz, a Bellini that calls for vodka, Aperol and orange bitters. Dip into well-judged classics - Aviation, Boulevardier (basically, a bourbon Negroni) and Clover Club. Surrender to sweet signatures - Strawberry and Rose Gin Fizz or Caledonian cobbler, Wisp in the Heathers (whisky, Grand Marnier, cinnamon, heather honey and orange juice). Largely affordable wines are what to order with Thai fish cakes; tuna sashimi ponzu and lime; pork dim sum; prawn green curry with sweet potatoes and grilled naan bread, or seared beef salad with cucumber and peanuts - mainstays of a menu that looks to Asia for inspiration and also offers chickpea and vegetable korma with toasted coconut among four dishes for those on meat and fish-free diets. Follow with pineapple carpaccio, coconut sorbet and harissa syrup or passionfruit cheesecake at this pretty new perch aimed more at urban peacocks and exotic birds than your average hen.
More about Little Bird Battersea
441 Battersea Park Road, London, SW11 4LR
One of the most attractive pubs in this part of Battersea, full of light & quirkiness, The Lighthouse has a great eclectic collection of prints & posters on the walls, an appealing set of draught beers & a delightful garden. Comfortable sofas & an open fire make it equally alluring in winter. In these respects the place doesn’t vary wildly from many other south London gastropubs, but it’s the attitude of the staff & the friendly atmosphere that set it apart. Customers are treated as guests, & the staff know the meaning of hospitality; they do their best to ensure that everyone has a happy time. The menu consists of gastropub standards: steaks, decent salads & the likes of crab on toast; Sunday roasts are a highlight.
More about The Lighthouse - Battersea Park Road
£30 - £49
Arch 758, Railway Arches, Battersea Power Station, London, SW8 5BN
Bold open kitchen at the back, big glass doors at the front, exposed ducting and brickwork everywhere – this is the very model of a modern-day restaurant, with the rejuvenated Battersea Power Station forming a dazzling backdrop. It might be part of a growing group, but the design is entirely bespoke, high on wow factor – note the mezzanine floor in the centre – and with warm lighting and classy banquettes, it all feels high on glamour.
The cooking is as striking as the setting is beautiful. Pitch-perfect chicken breast delivered straight from the tandoor comes with a zingy mint and chilli korma though, for flavour and star-appeal, it was trumped by a melt-in-the-mouth clove-smoked lamb rump served with a fennel and nutmeg sauce.
We shared a series of starters, of which the wild African prawn with coriander and garlic crust was the standout, with its deep and warm but delicately wrought flavours. We loved the soft-yielding texture of aubergine contrasted with a sesame, tamarind and peanut crumble, while ceviche of black bream paired with mango, nigella and pomegranate was as fresh as daisy. A chocolate mousse with cinnamon ice cream delivers a dab of heaven on the tongue to finish, or opt for spicy Indian-inspired craft cocktails, devised by master mixologist Tony Conigliaro.
This is a generous-spirited restaurant, not least because of a top team of smart staff – efficient, knowledgeable and friendly in equal measure. We’re already looking for an excuse to return.
More about Cinnamon Kitchen Battersea
£30 - £49
9 Battersea Square, London, SW11 3RA
Gordon Ramsay’s latest is the neighbourhood restaurant every neighbourhood wishes it could have. London House is smart enough for dinner with parents in its stylish dining room, yet relaxed enough for lazy weekends in the lounge bar – complete with leather sofas and fireplace. The large space is broken up into a series of small rooms, giving a cosy feel that’s helped along by welcoming staff. Chef George Lyon’s British food features on-trend dishes and native ingredients, but also shows real skill and passion for cooking. We kicked off with crispy pig’s head croquettes, moist and moreish, alongside a well-prepped plate of burrata and heritage tomatoes. Mains were equally impressive: we couldn’t fault melt-in-the-mouth beef braised in red wine, or classic grilled lemon sole with shrimps and brown butter. And don’t get us started on the delicious chocolate delice dessert… Great beers and cocktails, cut-price ‘Wine Wednesdays’, kids’ deals and weekend brunch are further pluses – as is the little hidden gem of a garden. Locals should find plenty of reasons to return here.
More about London House
£30 - £49
39 Parkgate Road, London, SW11 4NP
This fourth site from the expanding Out of the Woods Restaurant Group (also behind The Oak in Notting Hill and The Bird in Hand in Olympia) stays true to the successful Mediterranean formula with a large selection of cicchetti, pizzettas and small plates.
Kick off with some crunchy and sweet zucchini fritti or some well-flavoured croquettas made up of sobrassada and Parma ham, ahead of some pasta small plates. We especially loved the rich spinach purée that came with ricotta, lemon and spinach ravioli (kudos to anyone who manages to make spinach the star of the plate). We also liked our beef shin ragu with shaved parmesan, even if the pappardelle it was served on was a tad al dente.
Thin, crispy bottom pizzetta with a generous amount of toppings, are another crowd-pleaser, while desserts play it safe with the likes of polenta cake (so moist it became a bit too crumbly) and a heavenly sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream.
Friendly and knowledgeable staff offer personal recommendations without being pushy while the high-ceilinged, candlelit dining room has charm aplenty, making The Oak a good bet for romance on a budget.
More about The Oak SW11
£30 - £49
79 Sherwood Court, Chatfield Road, SW11 3SE
It’s quite impressive that this French outfit has managed to shoehorn a Parisian brasserie, complete with olde-worlde atmosphere, into one of the grand, soulless riverside developments. The sofas are ‘ideal for lazy weekend breakfasts’, while the more formal restaurant up the stairs serves hunger-quenching dishes in beaten-up Le Creuset cookware. Nibble on good bread & rillettes before moving on to moules marinière or snails in butter. Follow with good steaks accompanied by predictable sauces, or French-style roast chicken, washed down with a pichet of red (or something rather finer from the decent list), & you’ll have a great time. You should stick to the meat main courses, mind – though there’s fish on the menu, it’s frankly not a strong point, & vegetarians hardly get a look in.
More about Gazette Battersea
147 St John’s Hill, London, SW11 1TQ
Powder Keg Diplomacy’s “vintage Victorian splendour” and deliberate styling thankfully avoid silly pastiche, but this “shining neighbourhood gem” also shows some class when it comes to drinks. In the Rifle Club Bar, you can sup heritage cobblers, punches and “creative” cocktails such as Fog City 27 (spiced pear gin, Fernet Branca, cinnamon sugar, lemon juice and pine soda) – along with a commendable range of global beers and wines. Drinkers nibble on ‘tiffin and titbits’ at the bar, while the more formal Observatory Dining Room (a handsome conservatory) offers a “seasonally evolving” menu ranging from rare Richmond venison with beetroot, carrot purée and sprout leaves to Ramsgate gurnard with roasted orange, Sharpham spelt, samphire and shimeji mushrooms, plus puds such as almond sponge with mulled apple and cardamom gel. With “fantastic staff” doing the business, this place is a true local – “no stiff collars, just warm fun”.
More about Powder Keg Diplomacy
180 Lavender Hill, London, SW11 5TQ
Since opening in 2008, Mien Tay has played to regular packed houses, so we reckon it must be doing something right. Warm service and fair prices certainly help sustain its reputation, along with food that continues to surprise and delight. The char-grilled quail with a thick honey glaze, garlic and spices gets a lot of good press, as does the expertly marinated char-grilled minced beef served in betel leaves. Alternatively, you could dine on frog's legs, eel and goat, or play it safer by ordering whole crispy-fried sea bream with lemongrass and ginger, plus a green mango salad on the side. Like many of its neighbours on Kingsland Road's 'pho mile', Mien Tay used to be BYO but has forgone that tradition, opting for a well-priced wine list curated by no less an expert than Bibendum's Willie Lebus.
More about Mien Tay - Lavender Hill
£30 - £49
503 Battersea Park Road, London, SW11 3BW
Rescued from shabby mediocrity by the Renaissance group (The Avalon, The Stonhouse, The Rosendale etc), this vast gin palace is gaining lots of fans – just like the Theatre 503 upstairs. Following its makeover, the new owners have also installed a bevy of bushy-tailed staff, added some boozy draught goodness from the likes of Sambrook’s and Sharp’s and put together a wine list that’s strong on reputable Old World names. Cocktails include Strawberry Riky (sic), while bar snacks such as fish goujons, charcuterie and black pudding Scotch eggs are light options from a menu that majors on Anglo-European grub – think sea trout and dill fishcakes with lemon salsa, roast duck breast with confit spring vegetables, orange and mint sauce or elderflower pannacotta with poached rhubarb. The Latchmere’s remaining Victorian elements have also been enhanced by a beer garden/BBQ with jolly fun-day cabanas.
More about The Latchmere
£50 - £79
26 Circus West Village, Battersea Power Station, London, SW8 4NN
Oyster farmers turned restaurateurs, Wright Brothers specialise in fresh seafood – particularly oysters, which sell for £1 a pop during daily happy hours at Soho, Spitalfields & South Kensington. There’s no shortage of choice on the menu, from juicy potted prawns, dressed crab, whelks and shellfish platters to seared tuna with dark miso aïoli, Thai-style curried mussels, grilled skate with chilli jam or truffled Orkney clams with chunks of tender Ibérico pork. But it’s the oysters that are truly unmissable: there are usually at least six seasonal varieties to choose from, plus deep-fried, smoked, dressed and citrus-marinated versions. A fun place for a night out, Wright Brothers’ stylish interiors mix soft leather banquettes with shiny brass and marble fittings.
More about Wright Brothers Battersea
30 Battersea Rise, London, SW11 1EE
Landing with a bang on Battersea Rise, little Bababoom punches well above its weight. A modern Middle Eastern menu features meat cooked to blackened perfection on the mangal grill – with broad bean falafels and Greek Mastelo cheese for the veggies – supported by colourful salads and flame-licked flatbreads. We kicked off with creamy hummus and tangy rose harissa labneh, ahead of saffron and orange chicken shish kebab (moist and moreish) and rotisserie lamb shoulder – richly marinated and the perfect match for a side of smoky smashed aubergine dotted with pomegranate seeds. 'Is it just posh kebabs?' mused a fellow diner. Well yes, but we really aren't complaining when they taste this good. To finish, grilled peach Melba with melted marshmallows is tough to resist; with craft brews from We Brought Beer, decent wines and cheeky frozen Margaritas. Cheerful staff keep service zipping along in the buzzy room, which also hosts midnight feasts after 11pm or breezy weekend brunch, with the likes of harissa scrambled eggs.
More about Bababoom Battersea
£30 - £49
Circus West Village, Sopwith Way, London, SW8 5BN
Francesco Mazzei, known for Sartoria on Savile Row and Islington’s Radici, brings his signature Italian style south of the river to Battersea Power Station. Part of the D&D stable, Fiume means ‘river’ and the site boasts a large alfresco terrace next to the Thames, decked out with olives trees and potted herbs. Inside, the open-plan dining room is stylish and buzzy; the kind of space that’s equally good for groups or dinner per due. The menu draws on southern Italy and is split into antipasti, primi and secondi, plus cicchetti snacks such as punchy crostini topped with anchovies and mozzarella. Stand-outs on our visit included tagliolini laced with generous amounts of fresh crab and Amalfi lemon, perfectly al dente pasta boosted with a judicious kick of chilli spice; and decadent burrata tortelli with sage and truffle, crunchy hazelnuts adding texture to the creamy parcels. Elsewhere the menu includes lamb scottadito – juicy chops served with smoky aubergine – and homestyle ‘Roman’ chicken in tomato and olive sauce. Mazzei staples such as crisp zucchini fritti and tiramisu are also worth a punt; while a weekend brunch menu, the all-Italian wine list and great selection of aperitivos are further pluses.
More about Fiume
£30 - £49
27 Battersea Rise, London, SW11 1HG
“Can’t stop recommending it” exclaims a devotee of Battersea Rise’s casual French wine bar and restaurant. We concur: Soif is still streets ahead of the local competition. The daily menu doesn’t only base itself on Gallic soil – charcuterie features heavily, but Italian coppa is listed alongside rillettes and cornichons; Lindisfarne oysters are up there with Gorgonzola and burrata – though classic French-Mediterranean flavours are the mainstay. Whether you eat tapas-style (clams, chilli, garlic and lemon, say) or go for a more formal meal (Montbéliard sausage with choucroute and potatoes, followed by pannacotta), the cooking is invariably up to scratch. Staff are keen their customers enjoy themselves, and happily make recommendations from the huge and impressive list of organic and ‘natural’ terroir-led wines and French ciders. The split-level room decorated with French posters soon fills, but hard wooden chairs discourage lingering, so tables usually aren’t long in coming free.
More about Soif