10 months ago

Here’s what we thought of the new and improved Merchant of Battersea

After a brief hiatus where they closed their doors for a refurbishment, The Merchant of Battersea has reopened their doors on Battersea Rise. 

The Address has closed, the Brewdog is gone and Battersea Rise is crying out for a place where locals can come any night of the week for a drink, a bite to eat and a good time. Thank goodness for the new and improved Merchant of Battersea, who took a little bit of time off over July to spruce themselves up and change the menu in order to be that very kind of spot. 

We went down on a Tuesday evening to see the updated pub. The first thing that struck us was, even though it was a weekday early evening, the pub was really busy (and it only got busier as the night went on). Locals were already hunkered down in the new bar area, where there’s loads of standing tables for a more relaxed group gathering. We were shown towards the back of the pub where the booths for dining are laid out. It’s a nice set up where you can eat away from the slightly more crowded bar, but you still feel apart of that buzzy vibe. And speaking of vibe- the new interior of The Merchant is just that. Neon lights on the walls, graffiti style wallpaper that is dark enough so as not feel garish and ambient tunes. There’s a good number of screens showing all manner of sports too, so you know it’ll be packed come big game days, and though they were playing overhead whilst we were eating they weren’t an intrusive additional member to our table but instead added a nice, convivial ambiance. 

Having been shown to our table there was only one way to kick off the meal- a cocktail. We tried out the spicy margarita (which was, indeed, spicy) and their twist on an old fashioned. Instead of the usual whiskey, they’ve created a rum based old fashioned which was a real winner for us. There is sightly less of an intense alcohol flavour so it’s nice if you’re just getting the evening started and don’t want to be blown away with your first drink. To go with these was a plate of hot, salty padron peppers which really hit the spot and a great small sharer whilst waiting for the mains to come out. 

The mains were a big selection of dishes- the new menu has everything from crispy fish tacos to mushroom shawarma pizza, so it was hard to choose just one thing each. We ended up going for the fish and chips, which came with whopping portion of nicely battered fish, some really addictive beef dripping chips (we managed to wipe the plate clean of them in no time) and the classic additions of tartare sauce and minty, mushy peas in little dishes. Satisfying and surprisingly easy to finish the whole thing… Up next was a little bit of greenery from the side salad which was fresh and lightly dressed and a lovely dish of sweetcorn ribs. The ribs were another favourite- messy, sure, but worth every bit the BBQ sauce on our fingers and face. They were tangy and crunchy and, again, gone in no time. Finally was a bowl of the loaded fries. There are five types to choose from here- poutine, buffalo, gouda, curry sauce… but, on the recommendation of our fantastic server, we went for the salt and pepper chicken fries. Delicious. The chicken was the real stand out and we aren’t sure what the sauce was on it but boy it was good. A lovely addition to any table of food. To wash all this good stuff down were two pints of JUBEL. We didn’t know these were coming but the kind people behind the bar sent over the drinks because JUBEL are good friends with the new Merchant of Battersea. Truth be told we aren’t big beer drinkers, so the big glasses of beer were a little daunting. However, we took one sip, we blinked and we’d finished them. The JUBELs were a bit hit. It’s a really lovely beer to have with a meal like this- fruity, light and refreshing and, beer drinker or not, they are very hard not to enjoy. 

The Merchant of Battersea is back and, like the locals already getting settled in, we are pleased to have it back on Battersea Rise. Head down any day of the week to enjoy their new space and there will probably be something going on whilst you’re there- they’ve got an events list as extensive as their menu! Live music, quiz nights, happy hours… there’s always a reason to head down! We will see you there, pint of JUBEL in hand. 


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