One of the really brilliant things about London is – no matter how long you’ve lived here – there’s always a new neighbourhood to discover. And we’ve just made two brilliant foodie finds right in the heart of the city next to the Thames…
For lovers of Italian cooking, Fiume – the new eaterie from top chef Francesco Mazzei of Sartoria and Radici – is one of the first openings in the new Battersea Power Station’s Circus West Village development.
Close to the iconic power station building – the statuesque chimneys are illuminated at night, highlighting the cool and grandeur of the location. Fiume (Italian for ‘river’) is a few minutes’ walk from Battersea Bridge, but we hopped on a river taxi to Battersea Power Station Pier, adding to the sense of novelty and thrill at discovering a new area.
The interior is simply stylish (pale wooden furniture and floors, sheepskin rugs on the outside terrace) and the menu simply delicious – rustic dishes inspired by the cuisine of Calabria. We recommend the Octopus & Cannellini beans (perfectly-cooked soft meat with a delicate charred favour), Roman-style chicken (a wonderfully wintery dish of chargrilled chicken pieces and soft peppers in a flavoursome tomato-and-black olive sauce) and the gorgeously moist-and-moreish Amaretto-flavoured Tiramisu.
A little further east, right next to Tower Bridge and South London’s brand new theatre The Bridge, is The Coal Shed, part of the new One Tower Bridge development and sister restaurant to brilliantly-reviewed Brighton eateries – The Salt Room and The Coal Shed.
The Coal Shed’s name comes from the kitchen’s focus on the wonderfully-smoky flavours created by a Josper charcoal oven. And they take huge pride in the amazing quality of the meat and fish they offer, as well as going to great lengths to extract all the depth and flavour from their seasonal ingredients – even the Coal Shed’s homemade sourdough is glazed with a flavoursome blend of glazed bone marrow, maple syrup and beef stock, to be dipped in delicious whipped beef fat.
The feeling is of super-high-quality comfort food (and the wood-panelled interior adds to the warm, cosy atmosphere – this is the perfect spot to linger with friends…) We especially loved the rich autumnal flavours of the Venison with Roscoff onions, salsify and figs, and a thick chocolate-tinged jus on the side. Even our pudding – the soft and sweet Fire roasted pineapple – benefited from the charred treatment. Gorgeously refreshing chunks of fruit were suffused with rum, dark sugar and lime, perfectly accompanied by smooth coconut sorbet and crunchy crumble…
Here The Coal Shed have kindly shared their delicious recipe:
1 medium pineapple
100g demerara sugar, 100ml dark rum, 1 star anise, 1 vanilla pod, 1 cinnamon stick
400ml coconut milk, 50g toasted desiccated coconut, 75g sugar, pinch of salt
100ml lime juice, 100ml water, 75g sugar, zest of 2 limes
200g desiccated coconut, 100g sugar, 100g butter, 5g salt, 5g baking powder
For the pineapple: Preheat oven to 220 degrees, place in the whole pineapple with the skin on and cook for 20-25 minutes. It will be dark on the outside but should be tender in the centre. Set aside and leave to cool slightly. Once the pineapple is cool enough to touch remove the top and bottom and then the skin. Cut the pineapple into 4 length ways and remove the core. Depending on the size of the pineapple cut into chunky wedges usually 8 from each large pineapple. The pineapple should be juicy and perfectly cooked taking on some flavour from its roasted skin.
For the syrup: Meanwhile place all the ingredients for the syrup in a pan and place on a medium heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 -10 minutes to infuse and reduce slightly. To assemble the dish, preheat a griddle pan. Once hot, char off the pineapple on both sides for 2-3 minutes to get colour and char marks. Once you have done both sides, pour on the rum syrup and allow to reduce to glaze the pineapple. Baste the pineapple in the syrup until golden and sticky and set aside.
For the coconut sorbet: Toast the desiccated coconut in a pan on a medium heat for 3- 4 minutes until golden brown. Place the coconut milk in a pan with the sugar and toasted coconut. Bring to a simmer just to infuse the flavour of the coconut and dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and pass through a sieve to remove the coconut. Allow this liquid to cool, add a pinch of salt to bring out the flavour and place in a small container in the freezer. Stir the mix every hour until completely frozen to break down the ice crystals. We would use an ice cream maker to churn this but you can make it easily without it although it won’t be quite so smooth. Remove from freezer and place in the fridge 30 minutes before you wish to serve so you have the perfect texture to scoop.
For the Lime granita: In a pan place the lime juice, sugar and water and heat just to dissolve the sugar. Allow to cool, add the lime zest once cool to keep the bright green colour. Place in a small container and freeze forking every half hour to create an icy texture- this is a complete contrast to the sorbet and works great with the hot pineapple.
For the coconut crumble: Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Place butter and sugar in a pan and melt together stirring occasionally. Once completely melted mix in the dry ingredients. Mix well until all combined and spread out on a lined baking tray. Place in the oven for 15- 20 minutes until golden and crisp, stirring half way through to get an even colour. Allow to cool.
On the plates, place a generous mound of the coconut crumble, then sit the roasted pineapple on top of this. On the side add a large scoop of the coconut sorbet and top with a teaspoon of the lime granita. Finish the dish with the zest of a fresh lime.