Source, Battersea, Johan and Elsa De Jager’s new restaurant has replaced Vanessa and Martin Lam’s Ransome’s Dock
I have the fondest memories of Ransome’s Dock, the previous occupant of this appealingly tucked away yet close to Battersea Bridge site. It was one of the first serious restaurants I went to and Vanessa Lam’s armagnac souffle was legendary whilst Martin Lam’s wine list brought the best kind of wine trade geeks across the river. So it’s lovely that a couple Johan and Elsa De Jager have taken on the restaurant who have weighty experience in the business including Elsa’s time notched up at New York’s famed Eleven Madison Park.
Johan and Elsa have made an excellent astute choice in their head chef: James Adams, formerly and – considering the location – most appropriately, of The River Cafe. Their mantra is seasonal, simple and social and modelled largely on the farm to table New York-style of dining (and the interior is now more rustic/industrial chic).
Though, the source name actually refers to the well discovered under the restaurant from where the filtered water is sourced. They charge £1 a bottle with an admirable 80p going to Magic Breakfast, a charity providing first thing in the morning nourishment for children at school too hungry to concentrate.
From a fairly concise menu, we shared a couple of abundant portions of zingy fresh crab piled on sourdough toast with a not too garlicky lemon aioli. My rose pink beautifully tender mutton (two-year lamb with deeper richer flavour, not stringy and tough as depicted in Dickens at all) was properly hearty with wet polenta (seemingly making a comeback) and spinach. Beautifully pearlescent cod became a robust winter dish with the addition of good chorizo and chickpeas. An equally ample portion of macaroni with the clever addition of roast squash – I’m told adding an unexpected yet appealing sweetness – was wolfed down. We only had room to share a wickedly molten chocolate cake with three spoons before vowing we’d all be back.
Source, Unit 29, Ransome’s Dock, 35-37 Parkgate Road, Battersea SW11 4NP; 020 7350 0555;sourcebattersea.co.uk