This week we took a trip to Napoli via Battersea for our date night, though not before a tipple in Powder Keg Diplomacy.
The bar: Powder Keg Diplomacy
147 St John’s Hill London, SW11 1TQ
“Honouring tradition, subverting convention” is Powder Keg Diplomacy’s cheeky tagline, so expect classic cocktails and tastes from around the world with quirks and twists to make the whole bar experience that bit more interesting. The wine list journeys back to Victorian Britain in the time of the colonies and brings out some old world wines. Powder Keg keep their brewing traditional too, sourcing a variety of local beers. Soak up the Victorian and Edward decor with colonial influence for an added exotic touch. No need to book for drinks so pop down.
The restaurant: Donna Margherita
183 Lavender Hill, London SW11 5TE
Wandering up Lavender Hill, you’ll reach Donna Margherita, an understated Italian ristorante complete with outdoor terrace. With its wooden and exposed brick interior stacked up with bottles of vino, this restaurant has a warm, relaxed feel. We were immediately welcomed and made to feel at home by staff who explained and enthused about the menu and wine list. It was clear from the off that Donna Margarita take their food and service seriously, yet still offer a friendly smile and answers to all questions Italian cuisine. Restauranteur Gabriele Vitale and his team endeavoured serve up some fantastic insights about their ingredients and passion for cooking.
The best way to experience Donna Margherita for the first time is through their six course dégustation menu. With this you’ll experience Naples’ finest bruschetta, baked aubergine, pizza and risotto, topped off with torta caprese. Though we wouldn’t want you to miss out on their lobster linguine, homemade gnocchi, or pappardelle with porcini — you’ll certainly have to pencil these in for your second visit!
Hailed by Johnny Vaughan as offering “the best pizza outside Italy”, the radio DJ wouldn’t be far wrong about the Neapolitan wood-fired delights which came from the restaurant’s cucina. Their sourdough pizza recipe, which is composed of organic ingredients, including Himalayan pink salt and type 1 flour, is praised for its ease on the digestive process. For those not clued up: type 1 flour has the tasty qualities of refined flour but the nutritional content of whole grain — in the other words, it’s ace.
When we weren’t extolling the virtues of flour, we were drooling over the freshest and tastiest ingredients west of Naples. Offering the same Italian dining experience you’d only receive by travelling to the heart of southern Italy, Donna Margherita “serve traditional Neapolitan food with a modern twist,” according to their website. The Battersea restaurant reignites Italian authenticity through using truly fresh and healthy ingredients flown in from Naples — wherein the rich ingredients are grown in volcanic ash from Vesuvius, which gives them a rich and distinguishable flavour. Founder Vitale has been working hard with the head chef and the team to perfect healthy Italian menu; these efforts are clearly reflected in the dishes and wholesome foodie attitude of the Donna Margherita team.
The wine list, which spans from across Italy and Sicily, boasts of up to 100 wines which may feel overwhelming, but the staff are on hand to recommend and help you decide based on your dishes, preferences, and budget. To complement our dégustation selection, we opted for the Falanghina Svelato. A delicious white wine from the Campania region and served at just the right temperature.
Continue your healthy Italian experience by picking up some ingredients to take away, including wines. We walked away with a sourdough loaf and some fresh pasta, determined to recreate the tagliatelle masterpiece we’d tasted at casa Donna Margherita. It’s safe to say we left feeling satisfied and inspired.