After a hard week in town, I wanted a good beer, good food, relaxed environment and a great place to unwind before going home. So what could have been better than The Candlemaker, a pop art inspired pub, at the end of Battersea High Street. Michele Cremona (The Full English Kitchen) has taken over managing the pub and brings with her a retro food menu of real tasty natural ingredients making great quality comfort food.
We arrived at around 6pm and it was already busy, the two outside areas being fully used by people wanting to make the most of the warm weather and evening sun
Inside is nicely laid out, with plenty of room between tables for diners and lots of room at the bar. The pub is laid out with pop art décor and some just weird things that add a certain extravagance and homely style.
Straight to the bar I ordered a pint of the locally brewed Laine beer and a glass of Prosecco for my date. I was told that prosecco was on special at £12.50 a bottle if I wanted one. Now that is a good price, and it did explain why almost every table was drinking prosecco; not just because of the good weather.
Looking through the wine list, my first choice wine, a Petit Papillon Grenache Rouge had sold out (I am not surprised at the low price it was!) so I went for the Argentinian Tilia Malbec Mendoza. It goes well with beef, but my wine choosing skills were not needed as the menu indicates pictorially which food goes best with each wine. A great idea, especially in helping beer drinkers move to wine with meals, and promoting the matching of wines by the glass to the relevant dish.
The menu at The Candlemaker offers a good range of mains with classic British dishes presented simply, some with a slight twist. Cauliflower Cheese with smoked paprika, Scampi with Pea Puree, Shredded lamb and meatloaf burger all looked good. Traditionals such as Wiltshire Cured Ham and Eggs or Bubble and Squeek are all dishes to please a resident and excite a tourist. All the dishes really reflect Michele Cremona’s skill in using the best seasonal ingredients from chosen farmers to deliver memorable dishes full of traditional natural flavours. Michele Cremona has a farm-to-fork philosophy that supports small British family farms and everything right down to tomato sauce is homemade. It’s a great chance to taste what real food actually tastes like.
There were no starters, and I think The Candlemaker are missing an opportunity here. We would have happily had some olives and bread or a small charcuterie plater whilst waiting for our food.
I chose the Beef Brisket Hash with Roasted New Potatoes, Pickles, Caramelised Onion, Mustards Seeds, Pickles and Black Pudding. It came served on very floral and typically countryside English china plates, as if it was served from your family kitchen.
My date chose the Shepherds Pie 6 Hour Slow Roasted Shredded Lamb Shoulder. It was the dish I would have gone for if she had ordered the Beef, so we were both in a meaty mood that night. Delivered to the table in a china bowl dressed with grilled carrots, it looked every bit a full meal in itself. The meat sauce exposed when cutting into it was full of lamb and herbs, with each chunk of meat breaking apart on the fork it was so perfectly cooked.
Neither dish needed any extra sides, but chips, black pudding, potatoe cake and bubble and squeak were available if you wanted it.
For dessert we shared an Apple Crumble with British Apples and Oat Crumble with Fresh Vanilla Custard. It wasn’t a difficult decision; it was the only pudding on the menu. It was well presented when it arrived and had all the full goodness taste of homemade apple crumble, and certainly exceeded expectations. We shared it, but matched spoon for spoon, it was so good.
Typically British, Friday is fish day, with an East End Fish Stand serving oysters and other freshly sourced seafood. Something nice to have with the Prosecco next time I visit. It would have been good to have met with Michele Cremona, but she was busy in the kitchen creating the food for what was going to be a busy night, and really building the success for this London Pub.
136 Battersea High Street
0207 223 6532