London House: The Odd One Out
Very Kerri is, and has always been, about sharing the best of grazing and guzzling in London. Why harp on any negatives when there are so many positives. Anyway, it’s also about being genuinely honest and I honestly wouldn’t bat an eyelid at a Gordon Ramsay Restaurant. Perhaps it’s down to the beast of the group (circa 700 employees), but for me, each site has a sense of nothingness. Except for London House.
Battersea Square is one of my favourite little patches in London. I can’t put my finger on why, it’s hardly even a square, but there’s just something about it. London House is on the corner of said square, and when I rock up for dinner on a rainy night, it doesn’t take much imagination to picture having a long al fresco lunch there in the summer. I wouldn’t be raving about the interior of the place, though, or maybe that’s just the opportunity to do something a bit different. The highlight of the evening comes early. Enter Three Lunch Martini. Three drinks in one plus engaging story telling from the Bartender? Of course I am getting involved. Such a good idea. In fact, I’d go as far as giving this the yellow jersey in cocktail terms for a while.The very likeable Head Chef Anna Haugh-Kelly is a Dub so comes with great banter, ovz. We’re staring down the barrel of a set menu jobbie; three courses for £40, which isn’t offensive in the slightest. Actually, it’s a refreshing break from the sharing plate frenzy we’re all loving so much at the moment. Provenance is a big thing here so you see little nods to where everything’s from on the menu. Anna’s obviously big on braising as that’s mentioned a number of times too.
Starters like crab tortellini in a rich shellfish broth and braised pig’s head croquette make for an interesting take on surf and turf. For gluten-related reasons, I don’t get involved in either but the veal carpaccio keeps me happy. The accompanying courgette and basil purée is the best bit, adding a splash of Mediterranean freshness to the whole thing.The theme of nothing-ridiculously-trendy-but-consistently-top-dog-ingredients-and-presentation continues through the main courses. Pleasingly, saddle of lamb and Cumbrian beef fillet are cooked to perfection and both come with something braised; lamb neck and beef cheek gnocchi respectively. Sea trout with horseradish cream and watercress velouté is a fine example of underselling and over delivering, which I am always a fan of. I try a few of the desserts, the most interesting being vanilla yogurt (literally made about 10 mins ago) which comes with strawberry jelly and verbena dusted doughnuts. In fact, this is probably the most ‘on trend’ thing about the place; poshing up childhood favourites, taking the humble jelly and doughnut to the next level. Everyone’s doing it now, from waffles in high rise restaurants to soft serve ice cream machines in fine dining establishments. For me, of the Gordon Ramsay Restaurant portfolio, London House is the odd one out. And that’s a great thing. Five Very Kerri things about London House
- Cocktails with a story to tell, i.e. Three Lunch Martini
- Charming setting on Battersea Square
- The no nonsense menu
- Provenance takes centre stage
- Magnums of Sancerre