I remember when Battersea Arts Centre burnt down in March. Twitter was unanimous: it was basically the most heart-sinking moment since the riots. The blaze left some of the halls and much of the roof badly damaged, and the grand hall was wiped out. Eurgh, I hate writing that.
But but BUT
Nothing keeps those guys down for long. Operating from the old town hall since the 70s, the Centre has always had a reputation as a London institution and community hub, so there’s a lot to fight for. Holly and I went to see what’s been g’wannin since March.
The building itself is a huge Victorian landmark on Lavender Hill. Inside, people are hard at work rebuilding it to just the right level of charming dereliction (seriously, I’d have been gutted if they’d taken this opportunity for a slick and polished refurb), and amidst this activity, sits the very cute Scratch Bar.
Bloggers from all over London congregated to celebrate the heartwarming story of #BACPhoenix (I see what they did there) with an intimate supper. Over Gin Garden cocktails, made with Peckham’s Little Bird Gin, and canapes, it was lovely to see how emotionally invested everyone is on rebuilding the Centre even beyond its former glory.
Many know Battersea Arts Centre for its thespy offerings, but with the Scratch Bar, it’s sure to become a cafe culture destination by day and musical magnet by night. The restaurant area had adorable tables for four and Holly and I were joined by Kane and Sam, who both work for BAC. As well as our commensal banter, we enjoyed platter after platter of tapas and small plates; all of which was MADE FROM SCRATCH,
ha ha ha.
Serving as a preview to it’s autumn menu, we ate a very, very filling dinner of vegetarian and meat sharing platters (the handmade lamb kofte was stunning) and reams of tasting plates. My favourite was the braised pigs’ cheek and black pudding croquette, which came on a bed of pea puree and was topped with yolk dressing – look out for it on the menu over the next few months!
After several not-so-subtle requests that we have a private tour of the building, Kane took Holly and I into the amazing Council Chambers, which are currently in an endearing state of disarray. It’d be a stellar location for a photo shoot, film set or… immersive theatre. You heard it here first, chaps.
Battersea Arts Centre is alive and well, and no fire is going to stop them from putting on a sh!t-hot line up of theatre, food and fun.
*Holly and I were the guests of Scratch Bar but as ever, all opinions are my own*