This was different. As I get older, I'm starting to admit to liking things I would never have dared to acknowledge in my twenties/thirties ... jazz with dinner, going to bed early, gin...
And now, Opera. I don't know anything about it. But after spending an evening at TWID in Battersea, I'm a convert. A gentle approach, with dinner and cocktails - not just sitting, watching and listening to a dramatic story told in song onstage. Okay, it was still dramatic, and, at times, slightly intrusive, but there were interludes where we could carry on with the dinner and cocktails and catch up on non-cultural gossip.
About a 10 minute walk from Clapham Junction, away from the buzzing Northcote Road bars, towards Battersea, lies a newly opened, refurbished, revamped theatre style eatery. With intimate velvet-curtained balcony booths as tables, all overlooking one table for 8 which doubles as a stage, for a full view of the singing Opera sensation who keeps us entertained and intrigued with Russian numbers, Italian numbers and even a couple of more familiar arias. Maintaining eye contact with each of the patrons, this tenor showed true passion for his talent and no sign of any reticence whilst we were eating...
Every evening a different Soprano/Tenor takes to the stage/table. As you enter, you may be serenaded immediately, if not then he will certainly come to your table at some point to bring the aria up close and personal. 4 sets with a 25 minute interval between each. Not to be taken too seriously, but with a certain amount of respect. This performer raises the roof and makes each of us patrons feel special.
Signature cocktails to start, of course. I can recommend the Rossini, strawberry with rose water and Prosecco, and the Elderflower Spritz, both light and fizzy. TWID also serve a range of traditional cocktails and will happily make up any requested.
To the food. Sharing platters - my favourite. Influenced by French cuisine but with a splash of international flavours. Lovely Luca, the manager, recommended each dish and he was tremendously proud of the food, eager for us to try everything.
First, scallops with crispy kale, raspberries and hazelnuts. Unusual combination but it worked superbly, the soft scallops set off beautifully with the crisp greens and the slightly acidic fruit.
|Aubergine with goat's cheese and walnuts|
Beautifully tender lamb cutlets served with heritage beets and parsnip were exceptional, the vegetables perfectly roasted and tossed in some slightly exotic oils. Delicious.
For round two, some sushi, some duck and some crab. The sushi was highly recommended by Luca, and it was indeed sublime. A terrine of sorts, with hints of wasabi and a tiny dot of soy sauce was all that it needed.
The duck dish was also delightful, fat-free duck breasts served with turmeric spiced pickled cauliflower with an added sweetness of raisins and apples.
Lastly, the crab, a soft grated dish with apples, fennel and basil. Most dishes were served with shaved parnips crisps, which gave everything an extra crunch.
For desserts, we still felt light and not quite over-stuffed so we were recommended to sample the range of vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free desserts. Not exactly my idea of dessert, they were made from various fruits, with nuts and were probably designed to complement the light sharing dishes. Strawberry cheesecake, carrot cake,chocolate cake and mango cheesecake - I found them lacking in distinctive flavour and quite stodgy, so not quite my cup of tea. Instead we went back and ordered a fluffy salted caramel cake and a traditional baklava... much better. However, as indulgent as that seems, for special dietary requirements, this place certainly delivers.
|Gluten-, sugar- and dairy-free Strawberry Cheesecake|
This is a cosy, intimate, and yet interactive restaurant. Go along with an open mind, and get all your chatting done in between sets! It would be a fun work-do for example, or a destination romantic venue for couples. At weekends, once the Opera stops, a DJ set starts, so really it is an entire evening of culture, fantastic food and the chance to party the night away.
228 York Road, Battersea, London, SW11 3SJ
020 7223 2125
Meal for two with wine: ~£80
Thanks to CrispMedia for the (good) images.