Slice of sunshine comes to Battersea as South American restaurant takes up residency


Pisco Fuego combines cocktails and live music.


By Cara Cummings

A slice of sunshine comes to Battersea this week as a travelling South American-inspired restaurant launches its first venture south of the river.

Pisco Fuego will combine Argentinean ‘asado’ barbeque dishes with cocktails and live music during an eight-week summer residency on Thursday nights at Cocabananas, on Battersea Bridge Road.

A £25 tasting menu including ceviche, spatchcocked spiced chicken and dolce de leche desserts is on offer in Pisco Fuego’s specially designed set, as part of an all-round Latin experience.

“Think spit roasted pork, salsa verde, pisco sours and acoustic guitars around an open fire,” says organiser Hugo Jones, of pop up specialists Cult Events.

“Microwaved burritos and Ricky Martin’s greatest hits are strictly off the menu.”

Pisco Fuego, which has previously popped-up in north and east London, was inspired by Hugo’s own travels around South America.

“Our aim from the outset was to create an event that would live up to memories of nights out there, stocked with colour, flavour and keep-the-band-playing-till-dawn energy,” he explains.

“I think if some of that could be translated to British culture, we’d all be a lot happier!”

Hugo’s aim means the Pisco Fuego experience involves a decidedly Latin approach to eating – sharing courses with strangers.

“It gets people engaged, talked and generally letting loose,” says Hugo. “Moving away from frosty English caricatures to warm blooded Latin’s is the game.”

Getting people to try something different is central to the Cult Events philosophy. Hugo founded the company, who specialise in staging events for brands like Red Bull and Google Campus, with chef and fellow director Ian Ballantyne to tap into London’s increasing demand for the alternative.

Their move south with Pisco Fuego Battersea marks a definite shift from Cult’s previous focus on ‘trendy’ parts of the capital. But is Battersea ready for a South American shake up?

“This sounds very trendy for south of the river!” said Katie Preece, 27 who lives nearby on Battersea Park Road.

“It sounds really unusual and like it would be a bit more of an experience than your usual meal out.”

Sophie Griffiths, another Battersea resident, agreed. “There are some real hidden gems in Battersea – Antipasto for Pasta, San Gennaro for Pizza, Caffetino for coffee – but we’re definitely not spoilt for choice like the rest of London.

The pop-up phenomenon has finally reached our southerly shores. More of the same please!”

Walking past Cocobananas, Richard and Gina Houston, of Emu Road, singled out the arrival of Pisco Fuego as good for Battersea as a whole.

“As an area we often get lumped with the Nappy Valley/South Chelsea label a bit unfairly, so it’s great to see something different to change perceptions,” said Gina.

But Richard – a Battersea resident for more than three years – would like to see future innovation coming from within the area itself.

“I’d hope that Battersea comes up with its own trends, rather than ‘copy-and-paste’ from across the river,” he said.

What next for Cult Events, the culinary trend-setters to watch?

“I’ve got visions that keep on popping into my head about a Raj Temple style bar,” says Hugo.

“Imagine a guru inhaling on a hookah inside a lavish Indian Raj tent, divulging great stories of India’s great maharajah’s of the past and present.

“A stepping stone into another reality: with alcohol to help skew the imagination further…”

Pisco Fuego takes place every Thursday from 5th June 2014 at Coco Bananas, 101 Howie Street SW11 3BA

Doors 6.30pm, dinner sittings 7.30pm & 9.30pm (£25)

Follow us @SW_Londoner

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