Galapagos celebrates world cuisine with a nod to Darwin in the creature-feature décor, and a homely quality that you only get with small independent eateries. Worth a visit next time you’re in Battersea.
Galapagos Food certainly looks like an intriguing proposition from the outset with its black frontage and bold gold lettering... and any sign with the word ‘deli’ on it in Battersea is onto a winner with the young professionals in the area looking for anywhere they can buy ‘proper’ food.
Inside, the décor is perfectly pitched and very homely. Yellow-tinged cream walls are less cold than the white we usually see at cafes nowadays and it’s all broken up by brightly-coloured cushions that sit along the long rows of seating each side of what is actually a pretty dinky little space. They are spanned by small wooden tables and neat chairs covered in blue fabric. A nod to Darwin comes from a feature wall complete with a large newt hanging in black, but the main emphasis of the décor comes from the produce – lots of rows of bottles of drink, packets of dried food and jars of sauces that you can buy and take away with you.
Galapagos is an independently-run restaurant with a focus on repeat custom so everyone is made to feel incredibly welcome. This friendliness is exactly why people enjoy places like this so much – chain cafes dedicate huge amounts of time and money to faking it with plastered-on smiles and robotic responses but nothing can replace the real thing.
Galapagos is dedicated to serving up fresh food, baking all of their patisserie products each morning before they open. They have a large choice of pies, cakes and pastries with a selection of sandwiches if you just want a quick snack. However, they also do larger meals. Priced between £10 and £16 depending on what you’re ordering, and whether you have two or three courses, it offers excellent value for money.
As a starter, the chilli prawns are delicious – fat, plump prawns with a bold, sweet flavour that's enhanced, rather than masked, by the chilli. It’s best followed by a real highlight on the menu – the Moroccan tagine. Lamb is the meat of choice and after being cooked for many hours it falls apart in the mouth with ease. It comes served with creamy chickpeas with their potato-like texture, and sweet apricots which work well with the natural sweetness of the lamb. The spicing is just right with cinnamon and saffron adding a nice depth to the dish. The only slight negative is the couscous, which is a little bland and dry. However, once it’s slathered in the delicious tagine you won’t notice.
Galapagos stocks a range of teas, coffees and soft drinks from a mix of well-known but respected household names and independent local businesses. These include Green & Blacks, Birt&Tang, Dr Stuart's, Feelgood, Carpe Diem, Fentiman's, Yogi and Bottlegreen.
The Last Word
Galapagos is the reason why so many independent businesses flourish in Battersea – the demand is there as people local to the area understand why variety is the spice of life. How very Darwin.