JAMIE DOBBIN'S INSIDER GUIDE TO BATTERSEA
The Executive Chef at The Star in Witley and Brucan Pubs talks us through the hotspots of his local area in South London
Jamie’s experience reads like a guide to London fine dining. After learning kitchen basics as a restaurant pot wash in Newcastle, he was accepted on to Claridge’s prestigious apprentice scheme at The Academy of Culinary Arts. He’s worked at The Berkeley, The Connaught and The Savoy, before taking up a position at London’s world-renowned Ivy Restaurant in the West End.
His restaurant, The Star is a gorgeous countryside pub an hour from London in the quaint village of Witley, Surrey and it's the latest opening from Brucan Pubs – hailed the ‘undeniable winner’ of Best Food Offer at the Publican Awards 2023.
From snug sanctuary to summertime sun-trap, the roaring fireplaces and cosy corners within give way to an expansive, south-facing garden and terrace, made suitable for all weathers with a heated pergola and enclosed dining pods.
The Star’s menus are peppered with top-quality suppliers including: Wright Brothers for the freshest fish; Lyons Hill Farm, who specialise in sustainable, rare breed meat; and multi-award winning Cabrito Goat Meat. In short, you can expect the food offering in The Star to shine. The Star’s seasonal menus change every three months, and no ingredient undergoes unnecessary fuss or faff. These dishes are free of frills and foams, and portions are hearty.
Check out his recommendations for food and drink in Battersea, plus a plethora of brilliant, insider tips:
Parker Café on Parkgate Road is a fantastic place in the mornings. They do lovely, well roasted coffee. And they get the temperature of the milk just right every time.
Parker Café, 13 Parkgate Rd, London SW11 4NL
It’s over the bridge in Chelsea - so technically not quite Battersea - but it's within walking distance and well worth a stroll over the river. The Vietnamese noodle bar called Phât Phúc on Sydney Street is my absolute go to.
It's authentic, fast, often hectic (a good thing) and really reasonable but above all, the food is excellent.
Phât Phúc, The Courtyard, 151 Sydney St, London SW3 6NT
Elystan Street restaurant by Phil Howard showcases exemplary cooking in a very relaxed dining room.
Again, this is over the river in Chelsea. In Battersea Power Station there is Roti King, which serves beautiful, flaky Malaysian rotis with amazing curries to dip into and another firm favourite is Wright Bros for excellent shellfish.
Elystan Street, 43 Elystan Street, Chelsea, SW3 3NT
VINOS Y LICORES
My favorite for buzzy, but relaxed evening drinks is Vinos y Licores, a little Mexican bar on Battersea Square.
They do the best Margaritas
Vinos ŷ Licores, 14 Battersea Square, London SW11 3RA
ST MARY'S CHURCH
RIVERSIDE CHURCH AT DUSK
At dusk, walk west along the river from Battersea bridge and you'll reach St Mary's Church.
If it's a clear night and you are lucky, you may be able the grab a bench, sit back and watch the amazing sunset over the river. St Mary's church is also where I got married.
St Mary's Church, Battersea Church Rd, London SW11 3NA
ROTI AND BEEF RENDANG
The Roti and Beef Rendang at Roti King is excellent and very reasonable. But I do like a treat and the Shellfish Platter at Wright Brothers at Battersea Power Station with a Bloody Mary. Mien Tay is a Vietnamese restaurant, family run and totally authentic. It has a big menu, but their hot pots and pho are incredible.
Roti King, Battersea Power Station, 16 Arches Ln, Nine Elms, London SW11 8AB
OLD ENGLISH GARDEN
A HIDDEN OASIS
I'm really quite fond of the Old English Garden in Battersea Park. It's a bit of a secret, tucked away and hidden behind high walls, but it is an oasis; relaxing and calming. It was overgrown for years, but now has had plenty of attention.
When I can, I walk my little pug, Horace there and relax. The planting is beautiful and it's quiet, aside from the gentle splash of the fountains and birdsong in the background. It’s in full bloom at the end of spring, around May time.
Shush - don't tell anybody. It's a secret.
Old English Garden, Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ
THE PEACE PAGODA
THE LONE MONK AT SUNRISE
The Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park is cared for and cleaned by a lone monk. Reverend Gyoro Nagase walks to the Peace Pagoda every day at sunrise, gently beating his drum. He's often joined by volunteers on his daily ritual and it's a beautiful way to start the day.
Peace Pagoda, Battersea Park, Carriage Dr N, London SW11 4NJ
Jamie Dobbin is Head Chef at The Star in Witley Petworth Rd, Wheelerstreet, Witley, Godalming GU8 5LU