Published on May 2nd, 2014 | by Gavin1
Death by Burrito at The Candlemaker, Battersea
Summary: Trendy but retains the warm atmosphere of a local
I have a lot of free time on my hands, so have often pondered at what point does a pub become a gastropub? After much deliberation with a few foodies, we came to the conclusion that the dishes have to be of a ‘certain’ quality i.e. a notch or two above the Weatherspoon’s burgers, bangers and Bolognese. However, after tasting the fantastic dishes at the Death by Burrito pop up in The Candlemaker pub, I was once again left wondering how many notches does it take for a gastropub to become a fully-fledged restaurant?
Located about 10 minutes’ walk from Clapham Junction, The Candlemaker is a quaint local pub on Battersea High Street created by Inn Brighton, the same team behind The Joker in Islington and Dissenting Academy in Stoke Newington. Based on a derelict, forgotten part of Battersea High Street, you would never know The Candlemaker was there, unless you’re in the know. However once off the gloomy grey streets and through the doors, I felt like the world was once again in Technicolor. The venue is heavily influenced by its 1960s roots as the original hangout for workers at the nearby candle factory. Much of the artwork adorning the exposed brick walls has a nod to the 60s, but the overall tone is modern and trendy. There are also unique garden rooms too, so you can drink and dine alfresco, but with the added benefit of being in intimate spaces.
Inn Brighton are renowned for offering edgy pub food, and The Candlemaker is no different. Infamous pop up street food vendors Death By Burrito have been brought in to treat guests to an authentic Mexican dining experience. Having sampled their cuisine at their previous location in Shoreditch, to say I was excited to try their new menu was an understatement.
The menu is small, sticking to a staple of burritos, tacos, and burgers, but after reading through it, I defy anyone to not lick their lips at the thought of a beef brisket and pickled pepper taco or a Mexican beer and tequila fish burger with chilli mayo.
It may sound cliché, but I really couldn’t fault any dish on the entire menu; the burritos are as good as any I’ve tried in London; the burgers are filling and flavoursome; and the guacamole accompaniment with the nachos had me wishing I could speak fluent Spanish. The pork belly and kimchi burrito was my personal favourite; the Korean seasoned veg was a pleasant antithesis to the traditional refried beans.
However, the real surprise of the evening came from the Chilli & Agave glazed hot wings. Sweet, spicy, and with just the right amount of crunch; I could have eaten them all day if I hadn’t already eaten 3 burritos and a cheese and candied bacon burger.
Also, if you’re the type that’s up for a laugh, then there is a habanero chilli wing challenge; where you must eat 8 in under five minutes. A word of warning though, having given them a try myself, the heat I experienced the day after was MUCH worse than the actual eating!
Apart from the self-inflicted chicken wing pain, a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Being in a part of London with very little footfall, the place will rely on local support, and The Candlemaker has all the ingredients to be successful. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a pub that is trendy, but retains the warm atmosphere of a local; a great gastropub…or should I say a ‘restaurant-cum-gastropub’ hybrid?
The Candlemaker, 136 Battersea High St, SW11 3JR