It's time for tea
Birdhouse, 123 St John’s Hill, Battersea, SW11 1SZ
I find it hard to think back on my experience at Birdhouse without it bringing a huge smile to my face. Maybe it’s the sunny yellow crockery and signs against the gun metal walls, like sunshine on a rainy day; maybe it’s the rich, smooth Climpson’s and Sons coffee; maybe it’s the staff. Whatever it is, this place is a must-visit if you’re in Clapham/ Battersea. It’s only a few minutes’ walk from Clapham Junction or Wandsworth Town train stations, well connected by buses, and on weekends there’s quite a bit of parking.
The long black coffee is enjoyable to the last drop with a little fruity aftertaste. I loved the brown jars the sugar (brown sugar, naturally, for the serious coffee drinkers) and tap water came in. Those combined with the old school chairs and reclaimed school desks reminded me of being in school, in good way, harking back to simpler times. Some customers kind enough to have a quick chat with me (sorry, I forgot to get your names, but thank you!) told me how much they loved the service and that they were especially impressed by their lattes being made to their specification. They preferred them extra hot, and that was what they got. There are also a selection of teas from Waterloo Teas. I love the wee milk bottle that comes with your drink if needed.
The food is enjoyable, the baked goods and treats especially so. The meringue topped apple cupcake was unusual, but enjoyable for the meringue fans.
If you only have room for one dessert though, go for the salted caramel brownie, it is amazing. It’s rich, firm and I’m struggling to think of other adjectives now because my mouth is watering at the memory of it. Be warned though it is a very generous portion. I did struggle with the last two mouthfuls.
The whoopee cream pie was delicious too. It was soft, chocolaty and generously filled with cream. Again a very generous portion.
Mains are a little limited, particularly if you’re vegetarian as the menu is quite meat heavy. I love the menu cards though on little clipboards. I had the butternut squash, roasted peppers and blue cheese toastie and it was great. The cheese was strong though, so avoid if you’re on a date later on in the day.
As well as tea, coffee and light snacks Birdhouse offer tea towels and bags, the brown glass jars they use and their coffees.
Over all, I loved the design of the place, every detail has been lovingly thought out from the flowers in the vase to the desks; the artwork on the walls; the door menu placard and light fittings. It’s cosy and welcoming and an ideal place to meet friends or read a book in peace over a cup of coffee or tea. As I write this, I’m aware that there is some refurbishment being done to the garden area. I’m sure that will be glorious in the summer. Staff are friendly and genuinely welcoming. When I went for a second visit, I got a genuine smile of recognition, which told me that people are much more than faceless notes and swiped plastic. I’m not a regular here, I’ve been three times, weeks apart, but to be remembered and asked how I was, smiled at and offered menu suggestions made me wish I lived a bit closer. If you’re in the Clapham area, I would definitely pop in. It’s convenient, friendly, warm and idyllically peaceful compared to, for example the nearby Northcote Road. You’re welcome to grab a quick take away cup, which staff will bring out to you if you’re laden with buggy/dog/bike or sit around for a couple of hours. The screen addicts among you will feel the lack of wifi perhaps, but then you’ll look at your coffee cup and it will make you think of school days and sunshine, and you’ll smile.