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Powder Keg Diplomacy

147 St. John’s Hill
Battersea, London
SW11D 1TQ
T: 020 7450 6457
Map

In stark contrast to its early days, it is now relatively easy to get a table at this quirky Battersea bar/restaurant. We sat in the garden room, a dark but somehow cosy place populated by ferns, empty picture frames and upside-down house plants, with ivy-covered pillars supporting a glass roof. The setting was only a little surreal until our waiter arrived sporting a top hat and braces.

One of the other unusual features of this restaurant is the drinks menu which features an enormous selection of bottled beers, and 6 micro-brews on draught: 3 lagers, a pale ale, a stout and a cider. There are also cask beers which change regularly. I agonised for a while and picked the one draught beer that was off. Happily, the suggested replacement (the Jokers IPA) was a delight, with a light caramel flavour but still very refreshing. My partner selected a Merlot from the 6 reds available by the glass.

The a la carte menu is straightforward: optional oysters or bread followed by a choice of 6 starters and 6 mains. To start, we chose the spicy beef carpaccio with rocket and fennel, which was light and very tasty, and the curried parsnip soup which was thick, mild and smooth, served with a warm roll.

To follow, I had the Blythburgh pork belly which was excellent – equal parts moist meat and crispy crackling with no sign of the large blocks of fat that you often find in this dish. And it came with an embarrassingly large selection of vegetables: parsnips, carrots, kale, roast potatoes and a celeriac and apple purée, all sat in a very tasty gravy.

My partner had a medium ribeye steak which was cooked as requested as well as being half the size of a dinner plate. Accompaniments were more Spartan here (chips and rocket) but these were no ordinary chips. No, these were nearly half-potatoes, still in their jackets and large enough to be piping hot even as the last of them sat uneaten at the end of our meal because we were both absolutely stuffed.

We called time after the main course as we could not have managed a dessert and found the bill very manageable indeed – only £64 for two including 12.5% service and less than an hour on the clock. So, it’s difficult to find fault with the Powder Keg. Maybe the main courses are a bit big… probably it’s too dark to see how much you’ve salted your potatoes… definitely you would be hard-pressed to find a meal of similar quality at this price anywhere else in this neighbourhood.

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