Battersea Park is undoubtedly my favourite green space in London: it’s a hidden maze of landscaped gardens, lakes, playgrounds, and best of all a Buddhist Peace Pagoda. Battersea’s relative difficulty to get to, however, has also made its Park long feel like South London’s secret; a garden reserved for locals – whether those from South of the river or the nearby Chelsea folk who hop over the bridge for a spot of dog walking or running. Although the development nearby the Power Station is certainly seeking to raise Battersea’s profile, Nine Elms and its surrounding area is still somewhat of a no-man’s land, attracting a local crowd in the main.
However, the Pear Tree Café ought to attract the masses, both tourists and those from north of the river. Situated next to the Boating Lake, this Café oozes charm. Opened in 2016, its founders, Annabel Partridge and Will Burrett, have come from restaurants with an impressive pedigree. Having previously worked with Skye Gyngell at Petersham Nurseries and Spring, both of which have equally stunning settings, the Pear Tree Café is a natural follow-on. Offering a fresh approach to café dining in an utterly relaxed setting – whether outside on its terrace right by the lake which was packed on the Sunday morning my companion and I visited or in the café proper – it’s a destination in its own right and not just a pit-stop for park-goers. Indeed it rightly features on Ed Smith of Rocket & Squash’s top South London “breakfasts worth travelling for” (on which, see here) – which is certainly a reliable authority on London’s breakfast/brunch scene.
Their menu – which spills from breakfast through to dinner (from Tuesday to Saturday) – spells for a very attractive offering. Speaking of their dinners, photographs of their supper clubs suggests this Café transforms into a stylish eatery after dark with a soft light beaming over the lake against a backdrop of jazz. That did get me thinking – this would be a wonderful spot for a wedding reception (granted it would have to be a small one!).
Back to brunch, they have a rather old-school yet charming and pleasingly efficient queue system whereby you order and pay for your food at the central counter, disclosing your table number. Once your plate(s) are ready, it’s served to table. Given my eternal affinity for all things humus and tahini based and Middle Eastern spiced, the Chickpea & Courgette Salad (£11) was calling for me. Stacked with hummus, chickpeas, lemon, dill and tahini dressing, it packed a punch and inspired me to recreate this for my lunch during the week. The courgettes had been beautifully charred to give it its smoky notes, whilst the hummus had been effectively slathered beneath the bed of greens leaves. Combined with the crispy chickpeas, this was a textural joy of a dish. With thoughtfully sourced ingredients and seasoning, cooked simply and presented beautifully, their food is clearly fail safe.
Whilst not mind-blowingly experimental, Pear Tree Café offers tasty food and with a setting in one of London’s best parks (which must be a truth universally – or at least London – acknowledged). For no-fuss yet flavourful food in a beautiful setting, Pear Tree ticks all the boxes at any time of day, including their roaring trade in coffee, pastries and cakes.
Pear Tree Café, Lakeside Café, Battersea Park, SW11 4NJ