Check Driving Joia – Portuguese meals with a really London vibe

Test Driving Joia – Portuguese food with a very London vibe

Some of the best tables at Joia have undeniably spectacular views.

What can you tell us about Joia?

Joia is one of the most prestigious restaurants to open as part of the Battersea Power Station development. Overlooking the train station, it comes from Portuguese chef Henrique Sá Pessoa, who has two Michelin stars at his Alma restaurant in Lisbon. He brought his Portuguese food to London and mixed it with British produce. And all this mixed with a pretty impressive view.

So where is it?

It’s right next to – and we mean literally next door – Battersea Power Station itself. If you’re coming off the Tube you’ll find it just before the station in the new Arthotel. If you are arriving by riverboat, the easiest way to find it is to walk straight through the large new mall in the main complex and find it on the other side.

We strongly recommend the river boat service as a way to get here. Even if you arrive at Vauxhall and only hop on for one stop, this really is the most convenient way to get there.

What about a drink? What’s the best in the area?

The Joia bar is certainly one of the best options – but we’ll get to that in a moment. Elsewhere, Control Room B, the bar owned by the same people as Mr Fogg’s, is by far the most popular at the moment – it was very busy even on a Friday lunchtime. When it opens, the new Arcade Food Hall should also be a good option.

RoomThis is the main dining room. If you look closely, you can just about see the open kitchen in the background.

So – on to Joia, where should we sit?

You’ll find Joia upstairs on the 15th floor, and there are certainly some great views, but with some caveats.

You may have seen many videos and pictures with the Power Station in the background (there are some on this page too). Note, however, that you can only really get a good view of the Power Station if you have a window seat. So that’s the goal you’re aiming for and making all those tables premium tables. Any tables further away and you get a pretty good view of west London, but apart from the Royal Albert Hall and Wembley it’s not blessed with that many well-known landmarks.

The downstairs bar is a different story – as you can see in this photo:

RoomWalk down a spiral staircase from the restaurant and you will find the very large bar.

The bar is double height and therefore offers a very impressive view of the Power Station from almost every table. If getting a good look at one of London’s most iconic buildings is important, you should probably aim for a pre- or post-dinner drink here, although expect it to be very busy on weekend evenings. The cocktails are also very good. Here is an example.

RoomTrilogia – Absolut Elyx Vodka, Seaweed Water, Dry Sherry, Olive Oil Caviar (£16)

This Trilogia was a remarkably good take on a martini, extremely well made (and we’re pretty picky about our martinis, as you may know by now). The Pirata (Altos Tequila, clarified chocolate, Palo Cortado Sherry, Rhubarb Bitters – £14) was also an extremely well made cocktail. So they have a great bar area paired with excellent cocktails – that certainly makes it a good destination for a drink in our book.

But it’s not just about the view?

There is a general belief that restaurants with particularly stunning views tend not to have the cuisine to match. We think that’s less of an issue these days than it used to be – Hutong at the Shard and Seabird are both good examples of restaurants bucking the trend. Luckily we think we can add Joia to this list as we had some pretty great dishes on our lunchtime visit which we thought was right.

The menu is mainly Portuguese with many nods to local British produce. If you’ve been to Nuno Mendes’ Lisboeta, you’ll surely recognize some of the Portuguese dishes on the menu here, although both restaurants have their own specific take on these classics.

While you’re looking at the menu and deciding what to order, it’s always good to have something on the table as à la carte food. A good starting point for this would be the croquettes (pleasantly melting) and we also recommend starting with the ham:

Room100% Iberian Bellota ham (£18) which comes with a very generous bowl of picos. Perfect snack food.

If you look at the menu, which, in addition to “big plates” and dishes from the Josper oven, is divided into snacks and tapas as a starter, the latter essentially form the main courses. Everything came very quickly so you might want to be specific about how you want the food delivered to avoid being swamped. There’s quite a bit of choice and some of the main courses are particularly large, so keep that in mind before you go crazy with the tapas.

With that in mind we’ve decided on two of the large entrees and honestly they are so large that any of them could be a shared entree served with a few side dishes. First there is the Bacalhau à Brás.

RoomBacalhau à Brás – salted cod, potatoes, parsley, egg, black olives (£24)

The photo above doesn’t really do justice to the size of the Bacalhau. It’s brought to your table like this, then mixed up by your server and delivered as a great carb-packed delight. As mentioned above, this is easily enough for two people and is therefore quite reasonably priced for a high-end restaurant.

However, the must-have dish is one you may have already seen on Instagram or TikTok — the shrimp and orzo.

RoomCarabineros Prawns with Orzo, Biscuit and Cilantro (£64)

It’s expensive, but if you want great shrimp, that will always drive the price up. Again, this is more than enough for two and the orzo here is just cooked to perfection without being too heavy. Note that deheading the shrimp will result in a lot of juice spilling out – so we recommend doing this over the orzo and mixing all the goodness back in.

There are accompaniments if you need them and we highly recommend the patatas bravas (£7) which come with wonderfully crunchy potatoes and come with alioli and salsa brava generously spread over the layers of potatoes rather than just dabs on top.

How is it for vegetarians?

While the emphasis is on fish and meat, there are quite a few vegetarian options (less vegan options). Of the available ones, we particularly recommend the following:

RoomLittle Fish from the Garden – Green Tempura Beans, Pickled Mayonnaise (£7.50)

RoomBritish Wild Mushroom Escabeche with Egg Yolk and Alioli (£15)

So what about dessert?

Here are some more recognizable Portuguese dishes. There’s the Pudim Abade Priscos caramel dessert that you might have seen in Lisboeta, but this one has no pork fat, unlike Lisboeta’s version (which we still love). We also recommend the warm arroz con leche with passion fruit cremeux (£7.50). But the strong winner was another Portuguese classic:

RoomPão de Lo with Goats Cheese Ice Cream (£8.50) – gooey, gooey and paired perfectly with this very cheesy ice cream.

what about drinking

The wine list focuses exclusively on Portuguese and Spanish wines, with wines starting at £38 a bottle and most of the list is in the £40 to £60 price range.

General Thoughts

Joia has some pretty spectacular views, particularly from the main bar, and luckily the restaurant manages to deliver dishes that really go with the view. Portuguese food has truly had a special moment in London thanks to the arrival of Lisboeta, and now this, with each restaurant making its own mark. All of this coupled with some top notch cocktails means Battersea Power Station now has a real destination restaurant.

More about Joia

Where is it? 1 Electric Blvd, Nine Elms, London SW11 8BJ

How to book: book online

find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @joiabattersea

Warm dinners ate as guests of Joia. The prices are correct at the time of writing.

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