Exiting the shiny Battersea Station tube is like entering a glossy ghost town. A Monday night in January might be a decidedly off-peak time to expect a neighbourhood to be bursting with life. Still, walking down the squeaky-clean pavement dubbed ‘Electric Boulevard’, it felt difficult to imagine the area pulling in upwards of 30 million visitors per year, as was expected when the £9 billion restoration of the grade II-listed Battersea Power Station and its surroundings was unveiled last year.
It’s here you’ll find Tozi Grand Café, nestled in the art’otel London Battersea Power Station. This rather impersonal and corporate vista is redeemed by Spanish designer Jaime Hayon’s décor: felt sculptures dangling from a round skylight, warm lighting and playful tapestries sectioning off the booths dotted along the floor-length windows add an intimate touch.
Dinner kicked off with a Torbato cocktail: a superbly balanced splash of jasmine tea, passion-fruit cordial, Sardinian white grape, apricot soda, vodka and prosecco. We chose the mocktail version, perfect for dry January.
Seeing as the pistachio tiramisu received unanimous praise online, I knew I had to give it a go. It didn’t disappoint
Tozi Grand Café’s food menu calls to mind Cecconi’s, with hearty Italian classics like calamari and zucchini fritters, focaccia, meatballs, veal milanese, ricotta ravioli, and tuscan bean stew. We whetted our appetite with creamy burrata atop a rich caponata served with black olive and crunchy pickled celery, followed by baked scallops topped with ’nduja flakes that were melt-in-the-mouth.
Next, the lobster linguine, served with sea fingers – a type of deliciously salty seaweed – chunks of tomato and basil. The shelled lobster was soft and the pasta al dente, but it relied too heavily on butter to carry its flavour. Sticking with the seafood theme, we went with our gently attentive server’s recommendation of halibut on the bone, perfectly cooked and served with a subtle salsa and another sprinkling of sea fingers. The confit layered chunky chips could have done with a bit of salt, but had a great crunch factor, while chilli and almond flakes added warmth to a side of tenderstem broccoli.
I’m not usually one for desserts, but seeing as the pistachio tiramisu received unanimous praise online I knew I had to give it a go. It didn’t disappoint: light, fluffy and not too sweet.
Tozi Grand Cafe is the latest branch of a chain owned by the hospitality real estate giant PPHE Hotel – there’s another outlet in Victoria – and although the space tried its best, I just couldn’t shake the feeling of eating in a corporate hotel – the tinny music from the stereo didn’t exactly help. I’m sure the place will be a fine pitstop for weekend visitors hungry for brunch, but as we sipped our final drops of wine, I didn’t want to linger.
The vibe A boutique hotel restaurant featuring all the trappings of a commercial hub, but with polite and accommodating staff.
The food Standard Italian grub, cooked exquisitely.
The drinks An innovative cocktail menu and refined wines.
Time Out tip Check out the pre-theatre menu, which is a reasonable £28.95 for three courses. Perfect for a meal before a show at the Royal Court, which is only 10 minutes away by cab.