Restaurant Review: London House, Battersea in London
Previously to me this restaurant sat on Battersea Square was a fish restaurant, rather smart on exterior but nothing I would bother to keep on my radar. London House falls under the umbrella of ‘The Gordon Ramsay Group’ which is comprised of a collection of 14 restaurants in total and opened just over a year and a half ago (after a short and temporary lived life as another Be At One cocktail bar). Sourcing their produce, ingredients and locally brewed beers, the restaurant which describes itself as offering modern European cooking has a strong focus on supporting and maintaining relationships with producers locally and this clearly filters down from the kitchen and onto diner’s plates.
The bar in itself is worth a visit and carries an atmosphere you would expect from any good quality bar in Soho BUT, without the crowds and tourists, and instead buzzing with relaxed locals. Comfort to me is a priority before even the menu comes into play, therefore there were no complaints being seated in a deep suede armchair by the charming, modern lit fireplace which created a warm glow with gentle jazz, rock playing in the background. Detailed, interesting but simply presented the cocktail list offered an eclectic selection. The bar menu’s signature cocktails, Bombay Garden at £9.50 each have been created around either Bombay Sapphire or Bombay Dry gins with shrubs and fruits such as watercress and basil to pineapple shrub, orange and lemon. This simple use of familiar ingredients with the Bombay gin as a base creates an authentic, British feel. After slight deliberation we decided on options from the House Cocktails list. Asking recommendations for those most popular we decided on a PalmaNo Fizz, comprised of tequila and grapefruit and the Clover Club, another gin based option mixed with lemon, sugar and egg whites with fresh raspberries, both £9.
Rather separate and with a focus much away from the bar and on the fine dining, the restaurant is simply set with the impressive bar running down one side. Aiding in despising from the lengthy wine list the manager was more than happy to choose a bottle from the list for us. With a personal preference for a dry and crisp wine, with a little more bite, a bottle of Muscadet ‘clos des Allées, Luneau-Papin from the Loire Valley (£35) was selected for us.
Not extensive but offering a selection of dishes tying together and complimenting the local beer and international wines, we were offered a three course meal from the a la carte menu. The first starter presented to our quaintly set table was Exmoor Caviar, squid ink potatoes and homemade crème fraîche which was a delicate in taste and impressively presented, a welcome start (£18.00). Moving on, another dish on the starter menu that continued on with the fish theme was the Gilpins gin cured salmon with beetroot and dill croquettes. Much lighter in taste and flavour the salmon was milder compared to if it had been smoked (£11.00).
The main event of our meal brought to life the fantasy of any carnivore, Doves’ Cote de boeuf with millionaire fries, a choice I couldn’t recommend more. Full of intrigue with the other diners on surrounding tables, the beautiful cut of pink beef starts off with more of a performance than anything else. Presented and laid out on a large wooden board next to the dining table, the beef is served onto your plate and left with a small jug of jus with an incredibly tasty serving of warm Savoy cabbage with bacon lardons. Other than the fact that it was a beautiful cut of meat both in tenderness and taste it was topped off with the knowledge that this beef is sourced up the road from Battersea itself, which for London is a huge novelty (£35.00 per person). Continuing on with the theme of the evening the beef was matched with a local beer also up the road at Sambrook’s Brewery, Clapham Junction.
For dessert rich, dark and aromatic lavender chocolate éclair was an enlivening of the taste buds. The perfume of the lavender was a surprising but enjoyable pairing, topped with nuggets of golden honeycomb with the thick, sweet cream (£8). This was paired with the ever popular IPA.
London House is a restaurant I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending to anyone looking for great quality fine dining with a focus on the finest locally sourced and produced ingredients. The friendly staff glee and delight in what they are serving with each dish holding a story of where it is from and the relationship the kitchen holds with their producers. The menu has been carefully thought out; ensuring diners have the finest of pairings available locally. All in all, an ideal establishment for south west locals and Londoners alike who feel a responsibility of knowing what’s on their plate but without having to sacrifice dine dining and quality service.
The menu I enjoyed was part of the Local Food Heroes campaign. All the produce from London House is locally sourced but the menu I had was a limited edition one whereby the restaurant worked with local producers and shops from the Battersea/Clapham area.
Address: London House, 7-9 Battersea Square, London SW11 3RA, (020 7592 8545/ londonhouserestaurant.com)