Tapas Brindisa at Battersea.
One of London’s latest developments, Battersea Power Station is an excellent place to visit which should only become better when the new Northern Line station is opened and when a little more of the site is finished. For now, it’s somewhere to marvel at the space-age Frank Gehry and Norman Foster flats being built, to wander along the river bank and to grab yourself a spot at one of the excellent restaurants. There’s plenty of choice, with al-fresco terraces, like the one at Tapas Brindisi, often with a money can’t buy river view. So, while you might not be able to move there permanently, you can certainly live the dream for a few hours. That’s just what I did earlier this week with a friend.
We’d already enjoyed an excellent meal at Fiume so decided to try something different, in the form of Tapas Brindisa next door. There’s also a Wright Bros seafood bar which is calling me, a branch of Cinnamon Kitchen, Meghan’s, Vagabond Wine and Mother Pizza to name but a few. Most if not all have opened up though it’s probably best to check opening hours and book in advance.
On a rather grey mid-week afternoon, it was quiet but not deserted. Most of the restaurants had full or nearly full terraces and most had a handful of guests dining indoors. While it looked a little stormy, we opted for the outside heated terrace at Tapas Brindisa, which has a large parasol that is enough to shield diners from the sun or from light summer showers.
There are a number of Brindisa tapas restaurants in London, together with an excellent shop at Borough Market and a new Tapas bar there. An online shop means you can also order goodies delivered to your home. Having food cooked and served for you though is a real treat at the moment.
We started, as everyone should, with a glass of cava. Cutlery together with paper menus and napkins were brought to our table and we sipped on our fizz while we worked our way through trying to choose what to pick.
We ordered Pimientos de Padrón and Croquetas de Jamón to start. And, of course, Tortilla Española, potato and onion open omelette served here with alioli.
There’s nothing quite like the delicious simplicity of perfectly charred padrón peppers with a sprinkling of salt and oil to nibble on and these were particularly fine.
The croquetas were exactly as they should be with a crisp shell exterior and melting ham laced centre. The menu said three, but the restaurant kindly brought four so we didn’t need to fight!
Broken eggs, my friend suggested (Huevos Rotos con Sobrasada). I remember trying sobrasada, a kind of soft spicy chorizo when I was visiting Palma Mallorca and was happy to offset the eggs (not my favourite ingredient) with the promise of sobrasada laced potatoes. Perfectly cooked crispy potatoes offset the spicy sobrasada. Even if I avoided most of the egg, I can see the point of lacing the whole mixture together with fried eggs with runny yolks.
My own favourite dish was the Gambas al Ajillo, king prawns with chilli, garlic and olive oil. Yes, I can make this at home – no it never quite tastes as good.
A beautiful Ensalada de Melocotón – peach, tomato and basil salad that we enjoyed with Nardin anchovies – was our attempt at ‘healthy’. Delicious and fresh, with perfectly ripe peach and tomato offset by the saltiness of the anchovy.
I could easily have eaten my way through the menu. Patatas Bravas, Arroz Negro and Calamares a la Romana are all on my wish list for next time.
Our first ‘dining out’ experience since lockdown, we appreciated the efforts that Tapas Brindisa had gone to in order to keep everyone comfortable and safe. There was plenty of space – I loved the ‘socially distanced’ tables. And, we learnt that staff are temperature checked every day, the toilets are sanitised every 30 minutes and all the food arrives together to reduce contact. Checking a few of the other restaurants at Battersea Power Station, I found that all were going to great lengths to ensure their guests stayed safe.
Cinnamon Kitchen, for example, has removed around a third of their tables inside, Fiume, which we loved when we reviewed at Christmas, have sanitiser at every entrance and exit and Vagabond wines have an app-based tracing system in place.
There’s even a pavement one-way system marked with arrows. It’s definitely somewhere that feels as if the whole community have made an effort to keep everyone healthy.
We’ll definitely be back.
Battersea Power Station,
Unit 25 Circus Road West
0208 016 8888
Monday to Sunday
12 noon to 10 pm