This smart, stylish restaurant brings contemporary dining to Wandsworth with its modern European menu.
There are a number of things on my internal checklist when reviewing a restaurant: cleanliness, menu variety, price, and appearance.
These are all checked off within the first few minutes of walking in the door of Battersea’s Knights of St John, but right at the very top of that list – the front runner, the hot tamale – is service.
I imagine most of you would agree that if the food is great, and the drinks are cheap but the waiter looks south of your eyes and couldn’t care less whether everything is all right with your food, then it’s a safe bet you won’t be returning.
So good service was certainly what I was looking for when I arrived at Knights of St Johns for a meal as part of St John’s Hill’s Fabulous Feast.
For those of you who don’t know the Fabulous Feast was a week-long food festival showcasing the best cuisine on St John’s Hill and it saw restaurants offer up a £15 menu for customers to try something new.
The menu offered a choice of two starters and two main meals.
The staff were friendly, accommodating and incredibly attentive – so attentive in fact that as I reached the bottom of my drink there was another one in place. Nice.
To start, my guest and I had duck spring rolls, which may not sound like the most earth shatteringly interesting starter but you would be wrong to write them off.
The spring rolls were a delight! Tender duck, perfectly crisp rolls and a garnish – absolutely lovely. I couldn’t fault them, although my dinner guest said the hoi sin sauce was too spicy for her taste.
For our main courses we tried fish pie, and chicken, mushroom and bacon tagliatelle, both of which were very nicely presented.
The fish was accompanied by a little salad and some balsamic vinegar. The tagliatelle came in a large bowl and was a generous portion. Bursting with flavour, the pasta was cooked to perfection and there was plenty of meat and mushrooms in what can sometimes be quite a bland dish.
The fish pie, however, did not quite meet the standard set by the starter. There was a great variety of fish – in fact one of the prawns was bigger than my ear – however I couldn’t help wanting a little bit more flavour, maybe from some smoked fish.
I would use the word ‘delicate’ to describe it, which for a lot of people is the way a fish pie should be. But personally – and this is a review of my tastes after all – I wouldn’t put it up there with the other dishes on offer at Knights of St John.
The speed of service was very good and there was just the right amount of time between courses – no rushing and no mid course hunger.
Now, if like me, you like to finish off your meal with a coffee or a cocktail then I am certain you will be impressed with Knights of St John’s espresso martini. The espresso isn’t too strong and doesn’t leave a bitter taste in your mouth. It offers the right mix of coffee and creaminess and, with three little coffee beans on top for decoration, it is very well presented.
Although there are plenty of reasons to go back to Knights of St John the espresso martinis and exceptional service really seal the deal.
For the overall contemporary, clean and friendly feel of Knights, and because it is big enough that you aren’t sitting on the stranger next to you but small enough to feel intimate, I would give it a solid 8/10 and I would certainly recommend you try it.
It’s not the cheapest place but for the standard of the food and service it isn’t expensive. Go for a nice treat – why not!
Typical starter: £5-7
Typical main: £11-18
Typical cocktail: £8
You can find further information about Knights of St John or book a table here.
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