An exciting new restaurant has arrived to the London dining scene, curated by Chef Alex Owens: Archway! Situated under an old railway arch in Battersea, and a stone’s throw away from the iconic Battersea Park, the new London restaurant offers a relaxed and intimate dining experience to the heart of Battersea community, with a selection of old and new world wines and seasonal dishes. Here’s the full review from our guest contributor Adrienne Fung.
The other evening, we paid a visit to recently opened Archway in Battersea. Aptly named, Archway is tucked under an old railway arch a few minutes away from Battersea Power Station and dubs itself a neighborhood wine bar and restaurant.
Led by Head Chef, Alex Owens (previous experience at London institutions, The River Café and The Ledbury), Archway prides itself on an ever-changing menu of small plates highlighting the best ingredients of the season. For full disclosure, this was not my first time dining at Archway. When rumblings of Archway’s opening first emerged, I was immediately drawn to the concept and space. Given its changing menu, I knew a return not long after would offer much to still be explored.
Mostly tables for two to four, Archway tries to make the most of its small space with each table set increasingly closer to the next. Each one is adorned with a single tall candlestick which you’ll spend the whole meal trying your best not to knock over. Nevertheless, the candle-lit room creates a warm and intimate ambiance. We were lucky enough to grab seats at the communal table in the back of the room with a direct view into the open kitchen. This I’d argue is the best seat in the house.
The menu isn’t too big, but just big enough to give diners plenty of choice. Notably, it had all new dishes since my last visit.
The one common theme is that there is always a flatbread or two and a rotating selection of fresh pastas. There’s also a lovely wine menu with an eclectic and sustainable list of wines. Looking for a white wine that was on the dry and fresh side, we were recommended a bottle of Muscadet wine from Domaine la Haute Fevrie in Nantes, France. A family run operation, the vineyard focuses on environmentally friendly principles meaning low intervention, hand-picked vines, and no chemicals which fits in nicely with Archway’s mantra around planet, produce and people.
To start, we tried the flatbread with burrata, pistachio and mortadella along with the fritto misto of fried pink prawns, courgette flower and courgette served with a side of basil aioli. The flatbread comes hot out of the woodfire oven. The dough is crisp on the outside and gives just the right amount of chew. The burrata, pistachio and mortadella are a classic combination that can do no wrong. A simple, no frills but delightful flatbread.
We also enjoyed the fritto misto. The combination of seafood and veg gave the dish a nice balance. Although deep fried, the courgette made the dish feel lighter than a typical fritto misto. The basil also added a welcomed freshness to the aioli.
We then moved onto our mains: risotto bianco with rabbit, peas, prosciutto and lemon and roasted sole with rainbow chard and café de Paris butter. The portions were generous and plenty to share amongst two people. The sole in particular was a steal at £27.50 given the size of the fish. It was well cooked, tender and flaky and the ‘café de Paris butter’ had a unique spice that packed a ton of flavour. We were told that the secret ingredient in the butter was a hint of curry which worked quite well.
The risotto was also delicious. I don’t often order rabbit but glad we did. The meat was delicate, pairing nicely with the creamy risotto. The lemon came across, helping cut through the heaviness.
To finish off, we shared the Ricotta and olive oil cake with nespole and crème fraiche as well as the doughnuts with honey mascarpone and gooseberries. Typically I’m not the biggest dessert person, but I have to say the dessert course at Archway was perhaps our favourite course of the evening.
The Ricotta and olive oil cake was incredibly moist. The nespole fruit complimented the cake well with a sweet, dense texture. Not only was this dessert delicious but it was also beautiful to look at. The cake a deep yellow orange hue, matching almost perfectly with the colour of the nespole. The doughnuts were also a hit. We managed to snag the last order of the evening just in time. Looking around the room, almost every table ordered the doughnuts. Soft and fluffy on the inside with a nice crunch of sugar coating on the outside. The doughnuts were served hot and fresh. The tartness from the gooseberries and coolness from the honey mascarpone made for the perfect bite. The contrast of hot and cold and sweet and sour worked nicely.
Overall we really enjoyed dinner at Archway. It’s the type of neighborhood spot you can go back to time and time again. The food isn’t too fussy, but always fresh and delicious. There is a simplicity that the kitchen has mastered. When you have great ingredients, it’s about restraint and letting the product speak for itself. Not doing too much is sometimes the greatest challenge. The desserts alone are well worth a visit. I’ll be looking forward to seeing what’s on the menu next time.
Disclaimer: Adrienne was a guest of the restaurant, all views are her own.