Japanese restaurant Miyajima
196 Lavender Hill, Battersea
London SW11 1JA
0207 223 1144
Miyajima is a Japanese restaurant located near Clapham Junction. At night you can recognise the place quite well because of its red display. The door is solid wood and does not really look like the entrance so first you wonder how to get in. Inside, it is black and red. Black for the tables and the ceilling. The rest is red, and deeply red. Put a chamaleon on that red wall and I believe it will die… The tables are canteen-like which is fine as they are quite large. Like at Franco Manca you choose-your-own cuttlery (chopsticks here) from a wood tin in the centre of the table. It’s a bit classier than the recycled tin at Franco Manca of course, but the same principle. The menu is large and thick. Not like a phone book of course but there are many pages. I did not take the time to read everything.
As starters we ordered the salmon rolls (£3.60) and the California rolls (£4.10). They were followed by a tempura bento (£9.50) and a yakitori bento. As drinks we had two Miyajima juice (£2.50 each) and two Tiger beer (£3 each).
Good Tiger beer
Californian and salmon rolls
The salmon rolls and the California rolls were nicely presented and good, but not as good as at Tokiya which has better sushi. The wasabi was very fresh and quite strong.
Details of the yakitori
Details of the tempura bento
The bento boxes were quite good, with generous servings. The tempura bento had 5 good size shrimp. Considering it cost less than £10 it was a very good value. The fried vegetables were good too. The only thing I did not like was some sweet confit stuff that was put into the salad. Also, the sauce provided here is not the usual tempura sauce. It was more like a lightly sweet soy sauce. The portion of rice was huge.
The yakitori bento was excellent too. There were three skewers with plenty of chicken bits. They were tender and well marinated. Same reserve about the salad: it is fresh but it could do well without the sweet stuff. Actually it is quite amazing how much food they managed to fit into the box. Everything is densely packed.
Cost and conclusion: it was £41.31 with a service charge of £3.76 included in the bill. Without the two beers and the starters it would be around £25 which is good value for money because the bento boxes are quite large. Friendly staff, reasonable prices and good food can resume Miyajima. I find it better than the other Japanese restaurant Ukai Sushi located accross Lavander Hill street but if you are into sushi mostly, Tokiya Sushi Bar not far on Battersea Rise is the best in this area and more authentic.
Italian restaurant Pizza Metro
64 Battersea Rise
London SW11 1EQ
It has been over a month since we have been to Pizza Metro, not that we haven’t tried but it is often very busy. Tonight it looked good for a revisit. Last time we had the Ripieno which is a kind of calzone pizza with ricotta, parmesan, ham, basil, Napoli salame, tomatoes, and mozzarella (£9.95) and the Diego’s with mozzarella, buffalo ricotta, Napoli salame, rocket, basil, olive oil and parmesan (£9.95). This time we had again the Ripieno and I decided to try another pizza just to see if they were lucky previously or really good at cooking all kinds of pizzas The new pizza was the Panna pizza made of thick Italian cream, mushrooms, ham, Napoli salami, mozzarella, basil and parmesan (£9.95). We also ordered some sparkling water (£3.25) and a good Menabrea lager beer made with corn (£3.95). It is a little bitter in case you do not like bitter beer.
Good Menabrea beer
The two pizzas
The Ripieno pizza was – as previously – very good. It is a pizza that holds its heat very well, so even if you take your time eating, is going to stay nice and hot and fresh to the end. It is not an especially crispy pizza, but has a nice mix of flavours. Definitely worth trying.
The Panna pizza was also a good choice. Heavy cream on a pizza has the potential to be a bit sickly, but Pizza Metro get the balance right here. It is just enough cream to complement the rest of the toppings, but doesn’t overpower. Another good discovery.
Conclusion and cost: it was £31.11 with the 12.5% “optional” service charge included. As usual, I will complain about the service charge being automatically added to the bill. It should be fully left at the discretion of the clients. That said, in this case they deserved it as they were friendly and efficient. We really like the decor which is much better than at nearby Donna Margherita and the pizzas were better too this time. Highly recommended if you are near Clapham Junction!
Gourmet Burger Kitchen
44 Northcote Road, Battersea
SW11 1NZ London
Last time we visited Gourmet Burger Kitchen we were so pleased that we decided to go there again. With the recent heatwave we somewhat lost our appetites and a simple meal of burger with beer sounded good.
We ordered a Kiwiburger (beetroot, egg, pineapple, cheese, salad, mayonnaise & relish – £7.95) like we did last time, and a Satay (satay sauce, salad, mayonnaise & relish – £7.75) for a change and also because I quite liked the chicken satay at the Pepper Tree. Unlike the Kiwiburger made of 100% Aberdeen-Angus scotch beef, the Satay is made of a fresh English chicken breast panko bread-crumbed and fried. We also ordered only one portion of fries (£2.75) as we discovered previously how huge they are. As drinks we had a Mac’s Gold (£3.30) and a chocolate milkshake (£3.65).
Great beer and milkshake!
Let’s start with the drink since we were quite thirsty. The beer was great, served well chilled as it should be. The chocolate milkshake was huge! It came in the large metal container it was made in, large enough that I was able to refill my glass twice. Really not bad on a hot day! I did not find the taste of the chocolate great but it was perfectly drinkable and not oversweet as it happens often.
See the beetroot?
The kiwiburger was very good. Please read the previous review about it at http://www.trusted-gourmet.com/2009/06/gourmet-burger-kitchen-44-northcote-road-battersea-sw11-1nz-london/ since nothing changed. We like restaurants that are regular in their quality.
The Satay burger was excellent! The chicken breast came very hot and perfectly fried. The satay sauce was good and generous in peanuts. It would not surprise me if some chunky peanut butter was used in the sauce.
The fries were again quite good. They were very hot and crispy although not thin. This time we asked for garlic mayo to accompany the fries. At first you wonder a little about it because it has a greenish look, which, you have to admit, does not look too good for a mayonnaise. Better not to have too much imagination after seeing the geese at Wandsworth Common… Well, it was just the look as it tasted very nice and the garlic was real and even quite strong. A good mix with the fries anyway!
Cost and conclusion: for about £25 in all the burgers were quite good. It is possible to pay less if you go to their website and bring the printed voucher. They have specials like free beer etc. The service was friendly and efficient. Highly recommended if you are into burgers!
Thai restaurant Banana Leaf Canteen
75 Battersea Rise
London SW11 1HN
Banana Leaf Canteen
The Banana Leaf Canteen is quite a popular Thai restaurant in the Clapham Junction area. You can often see people queueing. Inside, the tables are like in a canteen but there are also some tables for two and they are quite large. I am sure on a very busy day it is possible to squeeze fit 4 people at them. You can see the kitchen from the dining area. We were sitting by the windows that were open, so I had my back right to the footpath & road.
As starters we had the Thai toast with coriander (minced pork and prawn toast with coriander and oriental seasoning, served with sweet chilli sauce – £3.95) and dark glazed “Chinkiang” ribs (£4.50), described as crunchy pork ribs tossed in sweet, tangy and spicy sauce made from the famous fragrant Chinkiang black rice vinegar.
As main courses, we took Ying Yang Laksa noodles with Thai fishcake (£8.25) – a mixture of wheat and rice noodles topped with our “house special” mildly spiced coconut broth laced with grilled aubergine, tofu and bean sprouts and garnished with lime wedge, coriander and crispy shallots; and Nasi Goreng with cashews & char grilled meat at £9.45. Banana Leaf’s Nasi Goreng is jasmine fried rice with Malaysian blended spices, eggs, cashew nuts, pak choy and coriander. Garnished with lime wedge, mixed salad and crispy shallots, and served with our mild chilli salsa. The nasi goreng is served with a choice between blackened sweet chilli pork or chicken bakar jawa. The blackened sweet chilli pork are slices of leg of pork marinated in aromatic dark soy, palm sugar, chilli, garlic and ground spices. The chicken bakar jawa is chicken thighs marinated in an array of Javanese aromatic spices slowly grilled. I opted for the sweet chilli pork.
The Thai toasts were not very good. They were too greasy and without much taste because of it. The Chinkiang ribs were quite good. They certainly weren’t crunchy as described (unless they imagined we’d eat the bones – which I imagine would be very crunchy indeed…). However, they were tasty with a sauce that tasted a bit peanuty (not spicy-vinegary). They could have used a bit more meat on them, but as a snack to start, were not too bad. It was nice to them to provide wet wipes as it was we needed to eat the ribs using fingers.
The laksa was fantastic – for those who like creamy, spicy food, this is nirvana. It was like drinking a very good Thai red curry. The only complaint I would have about this dish is that the Thai fishcakes were a bit strange – rather like fish-flavoured egg (I only ate half of them) and I have to say that another time (and there will certainly be another time) I would choose the chicken version as I suspect chicken would be much better. The tofu bits were not good, without any flavour. That was a minor part of the dish though, so my overall opinion is still positive (but if you’re going here, I suggest trying chicken or prawns rather than fishcake). The Nasi Goreng was quite good. The blackened sweet chilli pork were tasty, tender and nicely crispy on the outside. A really great meat. The rice was good too, but beware of the red chilli pepper. I chewed on one of them without realising it was a deadly weapon. Lots of beer was required after it and we had in all 4 bottles of Tiger beer (£13). They were cold fortunately, despite the current hot weather.
Thai toast with coriander
Dark glazed "Chinkiang" ribs
Overview of the two starters
Ying Yang Laksa noodles with Thai fishcake
Nasi Goreng with cashews & char grilled meat
Overview of the two main courses
Another view of the Ying Yang Laksa noodles with Thai fishcake
Beware of the chilli pepper!
Cost and conclusion: it was £43.07 with the 10% “optional” service charge included. I prefer when the tip is left fully at the discretion of the customer. The service was efficient, but a little slow when it came to the bill. Whilst we waited, we chatted to a nice guy who was into computers and had a MacBook Air Overall, a good place but do not bother with the starters as they were not that great and the main courses were much better and quite subtantial. Recommended if you are in the area! If you are into pizza, right accross the road you have Pizza Metro which is a good Italian restaurant. Into burgers? There is a Gourmet Burger Kitchen located 2 minutes walk away.
Buona Sera (Italian restaurant)
22 Northcote Road,Clapham Junction, London, SW11 1NX
Reviewed on Saturday 11 April
Buona Sera is located between Wandsworth common and Clapham Junction. The Northcote Road is full of restaurants we have to try! We have already been here once and were happy with the pizzas. This time we decided to try the full 3 courses. As starters we ordered Costino Piccante (pork spare ribs in spicy barbeque sauce – £6.80) and Funghi Ricotta (spinach and ricotta stuffed mushrooms, baked in tomato – £6.80). The Funghi Ricotta was good, tasty and plenty of ricotta cheese. The pork spare ribs were good and pretty hot. The sauce was spicy but way too sweet. The sauce looked familiar, like if it was coming from some already made cans.
Main Courses: we had a Caciucco (fish and seafood, tomato, garlic and chilli casserole – £13.80) and an Anatra al Balsimico (pan fried duck breast with honey and balsimic vinegar, served with sauteed swedes – £12.80). The Caciucco was very average, nothing to remember about it. The duck breast was too strong for me, like it happens with some venison. I do like eating magrets etc so when I write strong, I really meant it! The sauce was too sweet but considering how strong the meat was, it was ok. I think it would have been better to have pan fried potatoes than swedes. We had a bottle of Chianti which was fine.
Dessert: we ordered a chocolate soufflé with vanilla icecream (£3.90) and a cheesecake with vanilla icecream with red fruit jam (£3.90). The chocolate soufflé was good, with a strong enough chocolate and the ice cream was a nice addition. The cheesecake was at least a real baked cheesecake and not the overprocessed sugar-laden muck but not great either.
Anatra al Balsimico
Cost and conclusion: for £70 (tips included) we expected better. It is better to stick to their pizzas. It is a pity because the restaurant design is quite nice and the staff are all right. Another downside is the restaurant can get pretty busy so noisy. You almost have to yell for just discussing.