Review: River Quarter Kitchen @ Battersea


The restaurant sits on the Battersea riverfront.


By Joe Short

Cheese boards are a major gamble in restaurants. They range from £3-£12, come with a potluck array of sides and can be utterly awful if done incorrectly.

The gamble is this: without a menu description of the cheeses on offer, you risk blindly signing up for something crumbly and bland, something blue (often stilton) and a supermarket cheddar thrown on a wooden slab with lettuce to make it look oh so appealing.

If done correctly, you can spend over an hour with a glass of wine picking the finest selectionLondonhas to offer from between your teeth.

Thankfully, the River Quarter Kitchen falls on the latter half of this gamble. Their cheese board doesn’t mess around: six full offerings, including pecorino, goats, parmesan, and cream blue, with honey and sweet chilly dips, warm Italian wholemeal and a sweet wine for afters.

The desert sealed a most comfortable meal on the Battersea riverfront. While wall lighting and spotlights fill the slightly low-ceilinged establishment with an ambient atmosphere, the place is as much a posh café in the early afternoons as it is a restaurant come sunset.

A glance at the menu and prices immediately jump out. Starters sit on the high side of a tenner while mains push that £16 boundary when you begin to wonder if you can survive the night on one glass of wine. The mains struggle for great originality – if you like meat with add-ons you’ll love it here – but there are the odds surprises within.

As a starter, Bresaola beef stuffed with goats-cheese mousse and lemon zing looks superb on the plate – a real decadent dish. Yet zing is an understatement. I had to chase the cheese flavour around my tongue, ducking and weaving through intense acid, cornering it in the nose. As nice as the bresaola was, I could only smell the faint whiff of beef and cheese as my taste buds fought the lemon.

Across the table were three seared mini tuna steaks – done on all sides to lock in flavour – which changed to a heavyweight pork belly and apple once our mains arrived.

It’s a great idea to have actual apple slices (rather than apple sauce) accompanying the pork but if you don’t cook it alongside then it doesn’t go well with mash. Raw apple and mash and you’re stuck choosing which should go with a pork mouthful. If you combine the two it just tastes of lumpy mash.

As for me, a perfect lamb shank sat next to a sort-of polenta hash brown. With a sealed crust and soft inside, the polenta (the texture of mini couscous) complemented the lamb surprisingly well alongside a dash of spinach.

As a restaurant, the River Quarter Kitchen is a magnificent site for entertaining friends but its menu misses the mark as much as it hits. Thankfully, the cheese board makes up for a lot of the Kitchen’s shortcomings and ensures you have a fine, relaxing end to an evening.

River Quarter Kitchen, Battersea SW11 3TN / call to book: 020 7978 5055

Photo courtesy of ulterior epicure, with thanks.

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