If you haven’t swung by Battersea Power Station recently, then a) how are things under that rock of yours? and b) it’s changed ever. so. slightly. Gone are the days of providing electricity for Buckingham Palace and in 2022, it reopened after a seriously luxe makeover with alfresco entertainment and more upmarket shops than you can shake a chimney stack at.
Fast forward to February this year, when a beaut new restaurant threw open its doors, causing a bit of a stir amongst London foodies. The debut of two Michelin-starred Henrique Sá Pessoa, JOIA (living up to its translation as ‘jewel’) brings mouthwatering Iberian flavours and fuses with the finest British produce. I can’t bang on enough about how amazing the space is: light, airy and chic, plus the floor-to-ceiling windows shows off London in all its glory. We were lucky on the day of our visit, with sunshine kissing every inch of the capital.
..and then there’s that rooftop pool. We’re not staying at the art’otel, where JOIA is based, so maybe that’s something on the hitlist for when I (eventually) befriend someone with a better bank balance than mine.
After heading up 15 floors, through some of the most fragrant hallways I’ve ever experienced (honestly, it smelt great) we were greeted with a pastel paradise. Think tones of dusty pink, cream and aquamarine, speckled with gold highlights. The comfy velvet seats oozed glam by the bucketload, whilst the marble-topped tables and carefully chosen plants dotted around provided a nice contrast. I also adored the cute trinkets, from the dainty pottery paying homage to Iberian craft to the 60s-esque funky mirrors.
Our fellow diners looked genuinely excited to be here. There was an intimate, classy birthday celebration to our left, and two friends beside us excitedly snapping away at their meal. And we totally understand why: everything was picture perfect. This included the cocktails, which were a welcome distraction from ogling at the £3.5m apartments opposite. We opted for two signature sips, inspired by 12 precious gems from the Iberian region. The purple flower-topped Citrina (£9 - £15 if including alcohol) was a refreshing, bubbly mix, made with elderflower cordial, cucumber, chamomile and yellow chartreuse perfume. Champagne your bag? Then make a beeline for the Perola (£14). Meaning pearl, this sexy little number was blended with peach shrub, peach liqueur, lillet and rhubarb bitters, alongside a generous amount of fizz. I even devoured the little cherry at the bottom.
We were then walked through the menu with the friendly and attentive waiting team, including pointing out seasonal alterations and offering tailored, personal recommendations. My other half is pretty chill about me being a vegetarian, but here, I could tell he was sincerely regretting his choice of partner. Due to sharing nature of the menu, he had to say no to the catch of the day (turbot) or salted cod as they're designed for two people. Don’t feel sorry for him, as he quickly forgot with his next bite. Reflecting the Med’s abundance of divine seafood, the octopus salad (£18) kicked things off nicely, it was almost too gorgeous to eat. But, we’re here to stuff ourselves silly, and he enjoyed tucking into the deliciously soft swirls and cubes of red pepper, spiced with smoky paprika.
When you think of summer holidays in Southern Europe, chances are you’ve had your fill of alioli. Just imagine it on another scale with the Wild British Mushrooms Escabeche (£15). It honestly was a work of art, centered around a vivid orange egg yolk and foraged fungi. Rich, decadent and garlic-heavy, any trip here wouldn’t be complete without this. Trust us.
By now, I’ve worked up a thirst, so I chatted to the sommelier about JOIA’s incredible selection of Iberian wines. I chose the top seller, The Quinta Das Bageiras (£10 per glass). From Bairrada in Northern Portugal, this was a gentle, crisp sparkling tipple with notes of peach and citrus - quite frankly, nothing could be more fitting on a bright spring day, but before I had time to dream of future holidays, the mains arrived. My roast piri piri cabbage (£18) couldn’t be further away from the flavour du jour at Nando’s. Each mouthful just excelled in style and substance, particularly the charred edges (courtesy of the josper oven), caramelised pine nuts, olive and capers, not forgetting the shards of chilli. Who knew this humble vegetable could be this good? I soon found out it could. Because I mopped up the oil-rich sauce with the crunchy patatas bravas (£8), featuring yet another generous dollop of alioli. It’s a tough job…
My date’s braised Iberian pork cheeks (£38), paired with sweet apple, sharp fig chutney and rich Madeira, was another popular one among guests. It’s a striking dish and just delighted on all levels, from the chunks of meat that fell apart in his mouth to the fautless choice of fruit.
Finally, the desserts, and I’m going to go straight in with what you all want to know about. The chorizo ice cream. Bear with me, as it’s quirky, unusual and not to everyone’s taste but it really worked when combined with the dark chocolate mousse (£9). It wasn’t too overpowering, just provided a hint of smokiness, plus the sherry caramel brought it together. Closing our afternoon date was the classic Portuguese plate, the Pudim Abade Priscos (£8.50). Dusted with buttery biscuit, the boozy brûlée-like slice was a triumph, particularly the sensational mandarin sorbet.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Battersea’s jewel in the crown? Absolutely. More than just a spectacle or respite from all the nearby shops, JOIA is a destination in its own right. Bringing the best of Lisbon (where Chef Henrique previously had a restaurant) to the heart of Zone 1, this multisensory culinary adventure promises extraordinary views and lip-smacking cuisine that’ll have you wanting to come back again and again.
💰 The damage: £147.50 excluding service charge.
📍 The location: art’otel London Battersea Power Station, 1 Electric Boulevard, London, SW11 8BJ.
👌 Perfect for: Swish celebrations with the mother of all cityscapes.
⭐ Need to know: Nab a seat by the window if you can. You won't regret it.
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