Monday 24 March 2014

London House, Battersea Square

Sorry for the delay, but better late than never, isn't that the phrase? Last week I enjoyed a fantastic three-courser at Gordon Ramsay's new hang-out London House

As a local to the Battersea Square area, I can tell you first hand that there has been massive hype in the lead up to London House opening. Without wishing to put a dampener on it, this particular site has been a bit of a haunted spot for restaurants over the years. All show great potential to begin with, but after a short while the covers thin out and the "For Sale" signs appear, as was the case with Bennet's not too long ago. But with a big name like Ramsay moving in, gossip spread and near-by residents became hopeful that their prayers had finally been answered (in fact, it was nearly as exciting as the other rumour that Victoria Beckham is to take over our local SPAR..! For a fashion boutique, that is, unless Posh is venturing into the corner shop business).

It's a big venue to run, but like his predecessors, Gordon Ramsay has made use of all the space. As well as the dining rooms there is the long bar, lounge area and wine room. I went on a Wednesday night with my mum (my sidekick when it comes to restaurant reviewing!) and when we entered we were first greeted by a very smiley lady on reception... Then someone else to take our coats, another to take us to our table, another to give us our food menus, one more with the wine menu, then finally, a nice man asked whether we were celebrating a special occasion. Sadly we weren't, but if we had been, like a few of the couples around us, we would have been brought a scoop of ice cream with a chocolate sauce message at pudding time.

Once alone, it was time to concentrate on the menu. Three courses for £35 and I have to say, it was a foodie's heaven! All kinds of wonderful ingredients and combinations were on display. I think we both decided on our dessert first, but more on that later...

To start, I had the scallops with a walnut, apple and celery salad. It must be a popular choice at London House as I conveniently found a photograph of it on their website (above)! I'd eat scallops any which way, but pairing them with apples gave them a fresh twist which I'll have to try myself at home. My mum had the crab tortellini in a shellfish broth. Although she wasn't blown away by it I thought they were very tasty, more like dim sum than pasta, and nice and meaty.

Her main, however, was much improved. A sliced Cumbrian beef fillet served with butter bean purée and delicious potato gnocchi that were filled with braised cheek. I had the ray wing, which was topped with salt-baked beetroot and crispy squares of Parmesan. This came with a large plate of kale and cabbage salad, which was lucky for me, one, because I love kale, and two, because all the portions were a bit on the small side... 

It has to be said that this point, we did feel rather like we'd been ditched by the waiting staff. It was hard to grab anyone's attention, sitting in the back dining room, and though it was an incredibly busy night, it was a bit of a let down. Still, we didn't have long to grumble, as pudding was soon plated up. I'm always up for trying something new and exciting so when I saw there was a chocolate tart with (wait for it) Jerusalem artichoke ice cream, that was definitely for me. It all tasted exactly as expected, but surprisingly, went together perfectly! I do wonder where these ideas are born. 

We agreed that I'd won the first two courses, but for dessert, it was a photo finish. My mum ordered the nougatine parfait which, to save my fumbled description, has also been included in the website's photo gallery...

Inside was gooey nougat and pieces of nuts and dried fruits. I did get a little taste, but wisely, she didn't offer it to me a second time.

So all in all, a wonderful night spent at London House. £35 for a three-course meal at a place like this is  reasonable, but when you add in one glass of wine, two pots of tea and service, suddenly the bill was £100. Maybe not the local we'd all hoped for, but certainly somewhere special for a gastronomic treat - just don't go when you're ravenous!

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