Eats and treats

TWID – Battersea, London

We liked TWID. A fun, quirky sort of place where the welcome was warm, the cocktails strong, the food good as well as nicely presented.
York Road, Battersea might not be the easiest of places to get to – a 15-minute walk from Clapham Junction station, a 20-minute bus ride from Victoria station, but we were both glad we persevered. Our regret was that because of transport problems we visited at lunch time so we weren’t able to enjoy the full evening TWID experience of dining with live opera.
TWID, by the way, stands for That’s What I Do.
The building’s internal décor certainly makes up for the rather ordinary exterior. Pushing open the door we found ourselves in a make-believe theatre with cosy booths on both the ground floor and on the balcony. Be warned the stairs to the balcony are steep. The front of the balcony boxes are decorated with portraits of musicians and writers in gilded frames, the curtains and swags are red plush and a chandelier or two has been thrown in for good measure.
We braved the stairs and settled ourselves in a balcony box from which we could keep an eye on the lunchtime proceedings. If you need service at any time there is a call button on the table. Our delightful waitress Lisbona ran effortlessly up and down the stairs ‘They keep me fit and slim’ she said. She certainly was.
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The food is almost tapas style – smallish plates for sharing – a mix of fish, meat, vegetarian and vegan from menu’s created by the renowned Tom Ilic, nephew of restaurateur owner Peter Ilic.
Neither of us could stop raving about our two meat dishes, the venison medallions and the lamb cutlets cooked by our young chef Bruno were soft, tender, delicious and beautifully seasoned. The venison came with a port wine jus, savoy cabbage and gruyere cheese (the cabbage was yummy), and the lamb with perfectly cooked heritage beets and parsnips. We also ordered the hand-picked crab (with apple, fennel and basil) and the cod (with Jerusalem artichoke) – both very good but maybe with not quite the wow factor of the meat. All the dishes were exquisitely decorated – they looked too good to eat. But we persevered. Small sharing dishes priced from £6 to £12.50.
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For dessert we chose the sharing platter, which was perhaps a mistake on our part, as it was the vegan and dairy-free raw organic produce option. However, ten out of ten for the restaurant providing a vegan option, but next visit we will choose from the traditional dessert menu. Sharing plate of four raw desserts £9; individual desserts, both raw and traditional, £5.50, cheese platter £6.50.
As we are both rather partial to cocktails we couldn’t resist the Waldorf and the Elderflower spritz – both deliciously strong – £7 each. Wines, beers and spirits are also available.
In the evening TWID must come stunningly into its own, a) there is the very good food, b) the charming staff, c) the decadent cocktails and last but not least d) live opera from 7.30pm to 10pm Monday to Saturday, with a DJ taking over from 10pm.
TWID is the brain child of restaurateur Peter Ilic, perhaps better known for his Little Bay restaurants. Indeed TWID was originally a Little Bay restaurant but in 2010 it was destroyed by a devastating fire. It has taken seven years to restore the restaurant, and create TWID retaining some of the original features – the theatrical décor and tiered seating – but the Sharing Menu is new, along with the raw vegan desserts option, and the very comprehensive drinks list, plus the evening DJ.
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Ilic’s philosophy is ‘ to provide good European food with a French influence at fantastic prices, excellent service and the best atmosphere and value for money this side of the Channel’. As far as we are concerned TWID is maintaining the Little Bay restaurants’ tradition.
We liked TWID.

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