The stuff of south London legend, The Latchmere Public House and Garden in Battersea has officially been given its mojo back, courtesy of award-winning Renaissance Pubs.
Spreading their south London wings that little bit further, school friends Tom Peake, Mark Reynolds and Nick Fox’s seventh site has been totally restored and regenerated to create the pub that some may argue should have always been there.
In the same vein as their other venues, which include The Avalon in Clapham and The Bolingbroke in Battersea, the utmost attention has been paid to the three most important pillars of any pub: the food, the drink and the people, keeping it home-grown, hand-crafted and traditional wherever possible.
The interior has received a similar level of dedication and celebrates the vigor of the Victorian era when the inn was first built and rather wonderfully, the garden might just have London’s first under-seat heating in case this summer isn’t as great as it should be.
At the heart of the menu is meat, meat and more meat. Much of the pork and chicken is hand-reared at Renaissance’s Locks Drove Farm in Hampshire. Steaks are aged in-house and for the first time Executive Chef Massimo Tebaldi has created his very own uniquely flavoured British charcuterie.
Start your meal with a selection of gin and pink peppercorn or fennel and white wine salami plus a classic black pepper and herb coppa or a chilli embuchado lomo, served with homemade focaccia and pickles. Alternatively dive into a black pudding Scotch egg with coronation mayonnaise or hand-cut salted beef carpaccio with aged Parmesan and truffle oil.
For main course choose from steaks including flat iron, 28 day-aged rump or grain-fed rib-eye as well as smoked BBQ brisket. Burgers are terrific and come straight or stacked with lashings of bacon, Montgomery cheddar and caramelised onions. Pork fans will lust after the homegrown pork board with belly, rib croquette and tenderloin, all the better for knowing exactly where its grown up. There’s great fish dishes too, all sustainably soured from the south coast, including grilled Cornish sardines with sauce vierge, beer bettered whiting with mushy peas and poached seabass with baby gem and a chorizo crumble.
Puddings are the kind of puddings everyone wants after a pub meal: banoffee pie, unctuous and oozing with cream and toffee, pannacotta with poached rhubarb and the right kind of wobble, as well as salted sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream melting gently.
A local pub would not be complete without a kids’ menu. Fresh, fast and healthy, there’s small portions of all the big meals as well as dishes such as home-grown Locks Drove Farm chicken schnitzel or Rice Krispie fish fingers for main course and a gingerbread man to decorate for dessert.
Battersea brewers Sambrooks and Sipsmith top the drinks bill with a giant 25 litre gin balloon and a Wandle tap on the bar. Henners Brut Champagne flies the British flag in a wine list that has something for everyone no matter what kind of day they’ve had. Cocktails, such as The Godfather (Scotch, Amaretto and lemonade), are classic, echoing the importance of tradition at The Latchmere.
If the food and drink can’t pull you to SW11, then the bottom-warming garden booths certainly will. Mindful of England’s lack of commitment to sunshine, The Latchmere has created a striking all-weather garden with over-head and under-seat heating for the chilliest of summer days. Warm bottom booths are on a first come first served basis, so if you have a penchant for a toasty posterior, bag yourself a bench quick smart.
For those who like a garden party there is also a private room which seats 12 outside as well as bright, fun kids’ area complete with Wendy House and ride-on toys. A separate sun-trap terrace completes the outside space perfectly.
A massive celebration of home-grown writing talent, the Oliver-Award winning Theatre503 continues to be on the first floor of The Latchmere. A hot house of breaking new talent, customers of both venues are free to walk throughout both bits of the building. A daily changing theatre menu is also always on hand for those looking to dine before or after a show.
Owner Tom Peake, together with artist and designer Adam Ellis and interiors expert Hannah Lindsay, has created a pub which pays homage to the building’s heritage. Handsome and rich, you can feel it brimming with history yet full of energy and showmanship. From the original anaglypta on the celling, robust dark oak paneling, brass artefacts and huge horseshoe bar to the 1930s tattoo poster, prints depicting vintage F1 racing and pre-war TT motorcycling, botanical etchings by explorers, even large bright pictures of parrots first discovered by the Victorians, The Latchmere is crammed with eccentricities. These combined with a mix of sofas, booths, banquettes and plenty of room create a relaxed, comfortably stylish space, that’s very easy to spend time in.
The Latchmere – latch on.