Brindisa has been a big deal since it launched in the 90’s. Over the years the Spanish produce importers have supplied ingredients to restaurants across London. The first Tapas Brindisa site opened on the corner of Borough Market in 2004 and four other venues have sprung up across town since. Its initial popularity was brought on by its novel introduction of traditional tapas to a London ill-acquainted with authentic Spanish ingredients. Present day sees critics comparing it to best-tapas-in-London, one-time Michelin-starred Barrafina, but having never visited, I can’t make the comparison. Nonetheless, the Michelin inspectors do recognise the original London Bridge Brindisa as a blueprint for London’s tapas bars with ‘well-priced robust dishes’.
Brindisa Battersea forms part of the Circus West Village development that sits quietly overlooking the Thames. Gradually the Village is becoming more lively as more people move to the area and more bars and restaurants open. It was pleasing to see that Brindisa Battersea had a mid-week hum about it, despite it having only opened a few months ago. The vast terrace outside is primed for balmy summer evenings by the river. Inside, a long bar stretches into an open kitchen where you can watch the cold plates being prepared from the booths parallel.
The menu, which is steeped in 30 years of experience, is built around home cooking with recipes from the tapas chain’s founder Monika Linton and the Brindisa chefs. It’s divided into picoteo (finger food), cured & cheese, cold tapas, hot tapas, salad and bread. Two to three plates each are recommended and I’d suggest pulling at least one from each of the sections. Iberico ham, a leg of which sits on the bar, is a big player on the menu: ham croquettes, a charcuterie board, pork steak with romesco sauce. Other highlights are garlic prawns, salt cod, and smoked Ortiz tuna. Dishes range from £3.95 to £22 and aren’t all made equal so double check with your sever that you’ve ordered enough.
Catalonian onion and nettle croquettes are delicate in flavour, with a crunchy outer croquette and mushy béchamel, boosted by brilliant romesco sauce. Cod tongues were fried in a light batter that counterbalanced the thick texture of the fish, though we’d have appreciated a bit more crispiness. Lomo Doblado de Bellota was a traditional tenderloin acorn-fed pork loin with Iberico fat that melted on the tongue. Thinly sliced salted meat had a gentle sweetness that cuts through it. Order at least one Iberico dish, for me. Picadillo con humus de Alubia was a very smooth ring of hummus, with brilliantly meaty ox mince. Its torta crisp bread was light though heavy on the fennel. Huevos rotos, a favourite, was a bowl piled high with potatoes topped with fried eggs. A rich and delicious Majorcan sobrasada, a tomatoey, paprika ground sausage was hidden beneath the potatoes; be sure to mix this in too when you break the eggs.
Brindisa brings its ever popular and reliable food and flavours to a corner of London that was in much need of a Spanish feast. Without the bustle of the Soho and London Bridge branches, the Battersea restaurant brings about the relaxed and intimate date night I’d hoped for, along with the chance to try authentic Spanish fare and savour every mouthful of Iberico ham.
Book online on Brindisa-Kitchens.com or call 020 8016 8888.