Tapas Brindisa, Battersea


It was the bar Cheers, in the TV series of the same name, where everyone famously (notoriously?) knew your name. It is a more unusual experience to turn at the new Tapas Brindisa, a stone’s throw away from Battersea Power Station, and for the same thing to occur. But as I am greeted with a smiley “Good afternoon, Mr Larman” without my having to announce my name first, I feel for a brief second that I have somehow ascended into the echelons of fame. Or, indeed, notoriety.

 We’ve visited on a wet, miserable day, so the warmth of the welcome is an extremely cheering thing. Battersea Power Station has, in the months that it’s opened, established itself as a wholly new and exciting part of London, with plenty of favourite restaurant groups opening new branches around; a swift glance saw Dishoom, Wright Brothers and Le Bab, amongst other superb places, open or about to open around the Gilbert Scott-designed monolith.

But I had unfinished business of a kind with Tapas Brindisa, after a disappointing visit to the Soho restaurant a couple of years ago. I was assured, repeatedly, by those in the know that the Battersea establishment was superb and well worth a visit; well, who am I to ignore them?

After that splendid welcome, the first indication that matters were drastically improved occurred when we walked into the restaurant, to be ushered into a splendidly comfortable and secluded booth, and then a potential issue was resolved with speed and generosity. We’d mulled over a Bloody Mary, only to opt for a marvellous concoction that involved everyone from Monkey Shoulder whisky to ginger beer instead, but still the Bloody Mary came. “Oh, never mind”, the server said, “Have that as well on us.” Accompanied by padron peppers and some very fine croquetas de jámon, it made for a splendidly refreshing opening to what proved, very swiftly, to be one of the nicest meals that I’ve had all year.

Everything at Brindisa works. The small plates are just the right size to be able to order several of them – and if I wasn’t wholly blown away by the arroz negro, which could have done with just a tad more squid in it, then the chargrilled chorizo on toast (a Borough Market staple), the delicious goat’s cheese-stuffed courgette flower and a fine selection of Dorset clams more than make up for it.

We sampled first a carafe of the white Rioja, and then another carafe of the Ribera del Duero, which make for the most fitting accompaniment. In a moment of exuberance, we order another savoury main, the chicken thighs with mojo rojo; suffice it to say that there was a great deal of good feeling engendered by this particular dish, which was, thankfully, not a step too far.

All of this, naturally, meant that we were fairly replete, but it would have been a shame not to try the Old Fashioned (a fine concoction that comes, amusingly enough, complete with a biscuit, as if it were a child’s drink), and so a mixed cheese plate and a couple of excellent scoops of strawberry and mango sorbet are a fine accompaniment to end the meal. Then it’s time to leave, gratitude expressed to everyone and a walk in the now-shining sun to look forward to. Sometimes, a great lunch really can make everything in the world better.

Brindisa, 25 Circus Rd W, Nine Elms, London SW11 8EZ. For more information, and for bookings, please visit www.brindisatapas.com.