Let’s park the Battersea/Clapham border debate once and for all, in favour of finding great food together and forgetting arbitrary quarrels about where one area starts and another begins. Instead, we’re here to break down barriers, borders and bread, all in the time it takes to wait for a train.
Whilst Clapham Junction might be the busiest train station in Europe, its restaurant scene is arguably a little less relentless, but you’ll still find plenty of great places to eat within walking distance of the station. So, without further ado, here are Battersea’s best restaurants and our picks on where to eat near Clapham Junction.
Kaosarn, St John’s Hill
Ideal for Thai food and BYOB drinks…
Clapham Junction station and the surrounding area certainly isn’t short on supermarkets and cash machines, which feels like an odd way to start an article about the best restaurants in Battersea, but bear with us.
You’ll need both for Kaosarn, a Thai bring-your-own-booze, cash-only restaurant whose no-frills, no-frippery mentality extends to the food in the best possible way. Here, the flavours are bold and upfront, with a country-spanning menu of the classics sure to perk up even the weariest of train-traveller.
The restaurant’s Bangkok-style som tam was recently named as one of Time Out’s best 100 dishes in London, and it certainly does the job. Order it alongside some grilled chicken (gai yang) and a basket of sticky rice (khao niao) and you’ve got an enlivening, uplifting Thai meal for less than £20.
Pizzeria Pellone, Lavender Hill
Ideal for some of South London’s best Neapolitan pizza…
Enough of the football analogies; this is superb pizza, make no mistake, with authentic Neapolitan recipes here using Caputo flour, Divella tomato sauce and Buffalo Mozzarella straight from Campania. That comes as no surprise; the family owns five Pizzeria Pellones in Naples, and their restaurants in the Motherland regularly receive plaudits.
That said, it’s in the Pizze Le Pizze Gourmet section of the menu where the real excitement lies; the white pizzas here are superb and the Calzone Fritto, heavy on the black pepper and punchy with housemade salami, is a cult classic.
With Pizza Pellone currently available on Deliveroo and Uber Eats, this could very well be the best takeaway Neapolitan pizza in South London, too.
Considering the restaurant is just a fifteen-minute walk from Clapham Junction station and the pizzas take just a minute to cook in Pellone’s roaring hot wood-fired oven, if your train is delayed and you’re looking for a quick, delicious feed in the meantime, then this is the place to head. Or, they’ll deliver to the station; back of the net!
Address: 42 Lavender Hill, London SW11 5RL
Franco Manca, Northcote Road
Ideal for one of the best-priced pizzas pizzas you’ll find in the capital…
Or, if you’re heading south out of Clapham Junction station rather than climbing the hill northeast, then you’ll find a pretty decent, super quick pizza on Northcote Road at Franco Manca.
All-conquering Franca Manca pizzeria doesn’t need much in the way of an introduction; it seems to be on every street corner of London these days. No, that we’re not complaining – it is still one of the best-priced pizzas you’ll find in the capital.
The trick is in their sourdough base, with the addictive tang only a great ferment brings. Options are limited but inclusive, all part of the places’ charm, with no danger of being gripped by the paradox of choice when scrutinising the simple, streamlined menu. A place like this lives and dies by the pizza itself, and fortunately for all of London, Franca Manca appears to be immortal.
Address: 76 Northcote Rd, London SW11 6QL
Osteria Antica Bologna, Northcote Road
Ideal for home style, comforting Italian food…
On a street largely defined by mid-range chain eateries, Northcote Road’s best ‘neighbourhood’ restaurant is Osteria Antica Bologna, a warm and welcoming Italian which has been in the same spot for over two decades and does all of the simple, rustic things just right.
So, that’s freshly made pasta, ragus that taste like they’ve been bubbling since the restaurant opened, risotto that’s genuinely cooked to order (please allow for 20 minutes) and, if you’re feeling particularly ravenous, a Bistecca alla Fiorentina, that famous chargrilled T-bone steak beloved of Tuscany.
With affordable wine by the glass and a convivial atmosphere every night of the week (except Mondays, when it’s closed), it’s no wonder that Osteria Antica Bologna is such a hit with the locals.
Address: 23 Northcote Rd, London SW11 1NG
Ploussard, St John’s Road
The ideal neighbourhood restaurant and natural wine bar…
It’s the type of place that this corner of town has been crying out for; a natural wine bar that just happens to do deceptively simple, simply delicious things with seasonal British produce, ready to rival the steady stream of openings out East that seem to have perfected this concept.
Enter Ploussard, which ticks all of the boxes above and then some, all in a space that manages to be both austere but warm, the gentle, oscillating thrum of chatter and clinking classes soundtracking the sharing of plates and your own vital conversation.
Of those plates, a lamb and anchovy crumpet is as vibey and as delicious as it sounds, but try sharing one; it’s not possible. Even better – at their very best in fact – were hulking asparagus spears, al dente and vibrant green, laying under good dose of pert and piquant sauce gribiche. The two dishes actually worked beautifully in tandem, in fact – a spear and a touch of that sauce draped over the umami laden crumpet brought a whole new meaning to the sharing plates concept. Yours, as a pair, for under £20.
Though it’s positioning itself as a neighbourhood bistro of sorts, in the mould of Paris’ bistronomy movement, this isn’t a place to just pop in for a quick glass of wine on your way home from work; Ploussard, named after a prized French red grape variety typically grown in the eastern region of Jura, is already packed out every night of the week (except Mondays, when the doors remain bolted).
That said, it’s much easier to simply stroll in on a weekday lunch, and relax into this new Battersea gem. With several wines sold by the glass for just £6.50, it’s a place we can see ourselves relaxing into rather a lot this year.
Address: 97 St John’s Rd, London SW11 1QY
Sinabro, Battersea Rise
Ideal for modern French food with some global flourishes…
This creative counter-dining restaurant on Battersea Rise would be impossible to get into were it in Hackney or out west on Westbourne Grove.
As it stands, with this part of Clapham offering up a different type of dining scene, you can usually expect to get a table (or rather, bar stool) at fairly short notice at French chef Yoann Chevet’s brilliant restaurant.
Do so, and you’ll be rewarded with a no choice five-course menu for a bargain £40, which falls broadly under the ‘modern European’ bracket but with a few Asian flourishes – think open ravioli of braised beef with kimchi and tofu.
Don’t worry, you’re not being experimented on with ill-thought fusion food; dishes here are light, perfectly poised and full of flavour. A must visit if you’re in Battersea!
Address: 28 Battersea Rise, London SW11 1EE
Mien Tay, Lavender Hill
Ideal for Vietnamese food from a London institution…
Mien Tay, a Southern-ish Vietnamese restaurant a short walk from Clapham Junction, offers the most authentic Vietnamese fare we’ve found in London without hitting up Kingsland Road out East.
We love their rendition of banh xeo, a Vietnamese pancake/spring roll mash-up that is a textural, flavour-balancing delight. Décor is pleasingly stripped back and functional, letting the food do the talking, in typical Vietnamese spirit. Oh, and it’s BYOB. All together now – ”Tram Phan Tram!’’
Address: 180 Lavender Hill, London SW11 5TQ
Trinity, Clapham Common
Ideal for Michelin-starred fine dining…
The best fine dining option in the area, this Clapham stalwart run by the effervescent, proudly classical chef Adam Byatt has been given a new lease of life by its recently awarded Michelin star.
This is not to say it wasn’t superb before the little red book finally recognised its exceptional celebration of British ingredients with flair and respect – but Michelin’s acknowledgement of Trinity as one of the best restaurants in London is pleasing nonetheless. The restaurant has a particular affinity with game, and a visit in grouse season is a must.
If fine dining isn’t your thing, chef Byatt has recently opened a more casual, small plates affair upstairs – suitably named Trinity Upstairs – where the cooking is as attentive and precise as its big brother down on the first floor, but at a more accessible price.
Address: 4 The Polygon, London SW4 0JG
Rosa’s Thai Cafe Northcote Road
Ideal for classic Thai curry’s and regional specialities…
The second Thai restaurant on our list, and for good reason; could there be a better cuisine at reinvigorating a commuter who’s been worn out by the cut and thrust of the capital, all in the time it takes to wait for that connecting train to Epsom? We certainly don’t think so.
Rosa’s Thai has outposts all over London, with the restaurant gaining popularity for its affordable, properly punchy Thai dishes with origins from across The Kingdom. The Clapham branch has found a home on Northcote Road, and in a street largely defined by pizzas and burgers, the enlivening hit of chilli and smoke is most welcome.
Go for the stir-fry dishes, as Rosa has real woks and burners out back and that all-important ‘hei’ can be sensed on the plate. The chilli and basil stir fry is a very satisfying one plate wonder, akin to Bangkok’s beloved pad gra pao, but using Thai basil instead of the holy stuff. Regardless, it does the job.
The restaurant also focuses on regional specialities. We’re particularly fond of coming here for an order of chicken larb, papaya salad and a side of sticky rice which all hail from the Isaan province in North-East Thailand.
As their website boasts, over 1.6 million Pad Thais have been served by the restaurant group. We’re a little embarrassed to admit just how many of that number were us.
Ideal for chicken shish, falafel and halloumi kebabs…
Excuse the name that calls to mind Thierry Henry suavely, sexily peddling a Renault Clio, and instead turn your attention to the gorgeous, keenly priced kebabs being produced at Bababoom, Battersea Rise’s premier Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant.
With the charcoal grill licking up flames from noon daily, we’d argue that Bababoom is best enjoyed at lunchtime, where one of London’s best deals is found; a properly massive, laden chicken shish, falafel or halloumi kebab, fries and a drink (the frozen lemonade is ace) for just £10. Yep, ten pounds, and that drink can even be beer, which you’d likely be paying around a tenner for alone in some corners of the city. This one runs weekdays until 5pm. Get involved!
Address: 30 Battersea Rise, London SW11 1EE
Ideal for French fare and natural wine…
For many years, Soif was the place in Battersea to drink and dine in classy, pared back surrounds. One of London’s first – and certainly one of its most influential – natural wine bars to take inspiration from the Parisian ‘bistronomy’ movement, Soif has outlasted its sibling restaurant Terroirs, a place that put the biodynamic stuff firmly on the map in the city.
Fortunately, the natty juice is still flowing at Soif, and goes beautifully with the rustic, French country cooking that keeps South London restaurants returning here daily. The pork and pistachio terrine, served with grilled sourdough, is a thing of real beauty whilst the blushing pink veal chop with a complex, piquant charcuterie sauce feels both like a relic of a bygone era and very much on point with modern London cooking.
Always in search of a bargain London set menu deal, we couldn’t head out the door of Soif and back onto Battersea Rise without mentioning their ‘Wine & Chicken Mondays’, which sees ½ a rotisserie chicken – golden, juicy, salty in all the right ways – served with proper aioli (for once not just a garlic mayonnaise), chips and bitter leaves, all for just £20. The only issue is, this one feels impossible to share!
Paired with a glass of floral, funky Pinot Gris from Germany’s Rheinhessen region, you’ve got yourself a light, gorgeous dinner that yesterday’s roast will be looking enviously at.
Address: 27 Battersea Rise, London SW11 1HG