Bottles and Battles is a lovely little wine bar hidden in Mercato Metropolitano in South London.
In amidst crowds of big groups and loud music tucked in a little corner of Mercato is the sign vintoteca illuminated in stylish lighting. The décor is warm as bare-bulb lights hang alongside lit candles, and flowers brighten the table.
We were quickly greeted by the staff who recommended wines according to our preferences. My dining companion, B, was hesitant. “I don’t like white wine,” she whispered. However, she soon happily reneged on her word as we sipped on a lovely Italian white – the Santa Chiara which is from a small producer Terre Nobili. Golden in both appearance and taste it reinstated my faith in waiter’s recommendations – the wine was not just easy to drink but a pleasure.
We began with a sharing board of assortment of cheeses, pear, sliced meats, olives and toasted bread. Despite being a fairly simple sharing board, the quality of the ingredients and its stylish presentation shone through, with the pear paired beautifully with the cheeses and the bread alone won points for its soft warming texture. It also felt like just the right amount for a starter too.
As we waited for our main course, we drank in our surroundings (literally) and admired the simple fact we could hear each other speak in a Central London location and enjoy a nice meal and drink without feeling pressured to give up a seat for waiting parties.
The candlelit ambience was perfect either for a date setting or to catch up with an old friend.
There’s something very clandestine yet authentic about this bar and we heard smatterings of Italian from friendly groups throughout the night.
Onto the main course. We both opted for the tagliatelle with truffle, burrata and courgette which was divine. In theory, cheese pasta after a sharing plate of bread and meats may seem far too heavy, but each dish at Bottles and Battles is crafted with precision and creativity.
It was the perfect medley of flavours and portion too, all served on a stylish grey plate. We drank a red wine recommended by our waiter the nero d’avola which was dangerously easy to drink.
The food and drinks are all very reasonably priced, much more so than other Central London locations and it reinforced the importance of drinking good quality wine at an affordable price. I was not suffering the next morning as a consequence – one of the many reasons I will be returning to Bottles and Battles – and why I suggest you visit too.
There is also a sister bar that has just opened in the beautiful Spitalfields Market, which I imagine is an equally enchanting venue.
Bottles and Battles, Mercato Metropolitano, 42 Newington Causeway, London, SE1 6DR, England
Tel: +44 (0)7502 003096
The wine bar is a short 5-minute walk from Elephant and Castle Tube Station on the Bakerloo and Northern lines) or Borough Station on the Northern Line. It is open Monday to Wednesday from 11:00am to 11:00pm; Thursday to Saturday from 11:00am to midnight and Sunday from 10:00am to 9:00pm.
Type of Bar: Wine Bar
Price Band: Medium
Insider Tip: Take the waiters wine recommendations.
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10
Maighna Nanu is a London based freelance journalist.
Photographs courtesy of Bottles and Battles