Situated almost equidistant between Elephant & Castle and Borough tube stations is foodie haven, Mercato Metropolitano. The disused paper factory was transformed into a bustling food and drink market in 2016 and houses a wine bar so lovely that we almost don’t want to tell you too much about it in order to keep it to ourselves.
Tucked away in the market, Bottles & Battles (from the team behind Bottles in Shoreditch) is a bit tricky to find – look for the enoteca sign – but once inside it’s a cosy space with a large sharing table in the middle and walls lined with wine. Grab a seat and let the knowledgeable waiters recommend a wine or two. We sampled a delicious, light picpoul de pinet and they even managed to convince our Malbec-loving friend to try something new – a fruity, full-bodied syrah. And if there’s a wine that you really enjoy, you can even pick up a bottle for the road home!
To accompany the wine, Bottles & Battles also offer a selection of Italian dishes, as well as the obligatory cheese and charcuterie board. The selection varies, but we had a nutty parma ham, two variants of salami (one of which was made by the chef!) and a delicious porchetta, along with three variants of pecorino, each a different strength, and a super-strong, but super tasty, blue cheese. Served with olives and a good amount of bread – we hate nothing more than a cheeseboard with not enough bread – this is a great option if you’re not looking for a full meal.
However, we have to recommend the pasta. Oh, pasta. When it’s good, is there really anything better? To pair with the syrah, we were recommended the pappardelle with lamb ragu which was rich, meaty and would be heaven on a winter’s evening. And for our picpoul, the light and creamy tagliatelle with courgette, burrata and just the right amount of truffle. Portions weren’t small but we would have been happy to try and finish second helpings!
Bottles & Battles would be perfect for a date, you can start with a glass of wine and order food if it goes well! We’ll be suggesting this little gem next time our friends south of the river persuade us to come their way for a change!