London Larder was devised in 2012 to bring you the ultimate eating and drinking guide to London. It was borne out of a need for up-to-date, quantitative and whole-heartedly recommended places to eat and drink.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012



If you like wine, or need a bit of a guiding hand when it comes to matching wine with food, Soif, in Battersea, is the place to go.

Living very much up to its French name, Soif (meaning ‘thirsty’), the restaurant is bursting with a cellar of over 200 varieties of wine (mostly light-to-medium bodied selected from Italy and France), from sparkling to champagne, dry to sweet. All the wines are hand-made and naturally produced by small artisan growers, and, having been fully tried and tested, we can verify they are indeed delicious to drink.

We felt obliged to put the waiting staff’s knowledge of the wine list to the test, and they certainly know their stuff, telling you everything from where the location of the wine is sourced, what it should taste like and what it goes best with, all the time ensuring that it is compatible with your taste buds too. It’s almost like the London cabbie’s ‘Knowledge’ for wine.

The serving team are not only fully-versed on the wine menu, they are equally attentive and personable in a non-overbearing way. When we asked for meal suggestions, they happily obliged, and we felt like we were the best customers they had all night.

We kicked the evening off with a glass of Italian prosecco; light and appetising and we told ourselves we should start meals off like this more often. The bubbles tingled on our tongue and we were ready for some starter dishes: fluffy mozzarella on a bed of thinly shredded tender vegetables with a hint of lemon, and some spicy grilled prawns in a juicy garlic sauce. The waiter matched two glasses of white wine from the French regions, and not being white wine drinkers ourselves, we were pleasantly surprised (another couple to add to our shopping list).

Mains consisted of grilled hake with celeriac; 'some of the best fish I've ever eaten' exclaimed my friend (a bold statement indeed), and lamb with griolles (tiny mushrooms we learnt) with aubergine in an ever-so slight tomato sauce. The lamb (which we observed quite closely) was none that we had eaten before, being reddy-pink with a brown and juicy rim on one side, but bizarrely light and pork-like on the other. We thought this was more fine cuisine than a peculiar type of meat however, and carried on eating what was an immensely enjoyable dish. With this we drank another white wine, from Italy, we think, but our mind started to go hazy at this point, and a nice juicy red with the lamb.

Dessert came and we enjoyed a cheese board with a glass of sweet red, and a bitter chocolate mousse with a very cider-like sweet white wine (the final addition to the shopping list).

If you fancy something a little lighter on your visit to Soif, you can also enjoy boards of cured meats, soda bread, olives and other small plates. These alone are quite filling and a great excuse to make up the larger proportion of the bill with wine.

Soif is definitely a restaurant to be revisited. The wine, food and service demand it. And you are not in the south-west area of London, you can venture to its sister restaurants Terroirs in Covent Garden and Brawn in Bethnal Green.

If there is anything to be learnt however, drink plenty of water or you'll regret it in the morning.

27 Battersea Rise, SW11 1HG

Average price for main course: £18
Average price for glass of wine: £7
Food/Drink: 4/5
Value: 4/5
Service: 5/5

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