After Nyne’s Laura reports on the British inspired menu at The Candlemaker Pub.
You can find The Candlemaker Pub on the surprisingly narrow Battersea High Street, less than a ten minute walk from Clapham Junction train station.
The decor is retro British, with all the nostalgia that entails – an old pram filled with classic board games, seventies wallpaper and big leather sofas. The Candlemaker is staffed by a small but enthusiastic team and has that sort of warm atmosphere you might associate with a local village pub.
The pub is the happy result of head chef Michele Cremona’s successful greasy-spoon pop-up, The Full English, in Soho.
The menu is straightforward and fairly priced – none of this starter malarkey and just one regular dessert: apple crumble and custard. The ingredients are sourced as much as possible from British farms and everything, including the tartare source, is homemade. The dishes are a mixture of classic British staples – we’re talking fish finger sandwiches, sausages and mash, the full English breakfast and some of Michele’s own creations – a meatloaf burger and Shepherd’s pie reimagined with slow roasted shredded lamb.
But before we go on, I think I should admit something: I’m a vegetarian.
I know – how scandalous. Burn me at the stake.
Should you be of omnivorous variety of homo sapiens, let me tell you – good vegetarian pub food is hard to come by. Normally it’s something depressing, involving copious amounts of cheese and a flavour deficient salad. I once ate half an artichoke, in gravy, with a side of fries. This was not nearly as appetising as it sounds.
But it’s really lovely to see some well-thought out options for the garden variety vegetarian. I went with Michele’s suggestion to try The Candlemaker’s take on bubble and squeak – a well-seasoned little cake topped with Portobello mushroom, a fried egg and roasted tomatoes. Being a rehabilitated vegan, I have a slightly complicated relationship with eggs but I warmed to its inclusion in the dish – taken with the mushroom, it gave an almost meaty texture.
To follow, I had the dessert special of the day – Eton Mess. It was glorious , as all Eton Mess ultimately is. What can go wrong with strawberries, meringue and cream? It was served in a sundae dish on old china – which added to that home-cooked-dinner feel.
What makes The Candlemaker a little bit special, what separates it from the London gastro pub scene, is its sense of community. The pub recently launched the ‘Battersea MyStreet’ campaign, which seeks to invigorate the Battersea area, through partnerships with local suppliers and brand new pop-ups in the street’s empty shops. 25p from every full English and Lane Pint sold also goes to the gardening charity Thrive, which works with disadvantaged and disabled people. It’s an ethos far removed from the antisocial London stereotype.
All in all, The Candlemaker is a gem of a pub. It’s food you’ll remember from your childhood but with a depth and attention to flavour that makes it all the more satisfying.
136 Battersea High Street