"i know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?"
"i think you can in europe?"
well, a jolly good think we're in europe then, because "whelmed" is one hundred percent how i would describe my first impressions of battersea power station's power of summer event. the girls and i have been meaning to head along since it first opened in june - initial reports were that it was quiet and that maybe not enough people knew about it. there were blogger events held there to spread the word (i got the invite but wasn't able to make the dates sadly), which maybe helped, but even then, the "getting there" was always a factor in anyone's review of the day.
well, we sucked it up and finally made our way south west this sunday just gone. we arrived at battersea park rail - the closest rail station, just before two, and began our hunt for signage to the event. we made our way to the bus stop and checked the map there for some guidance, as it appeared that event signs were not in the budget... there's nothing more annoying than being able to see where you need to be going, but not know how to get there.
well, with a sort of idea where we were going, we set off in a general direction... that turned out to be the exact wrong direction, and led us nowhere but to the construction site where the demolition is currently underway. we were forced to admit defeat and retreat back the way we'd come - half an hour of perfectly good eating time completely wasted walking around a battersea construction site.
well, when we finally managed to get around to the right side of the power station and in the place we needed to be, we found the sign. just the one sign, facing the oncoming traffic coming up from over the bridge (so the rich folk coming up from chelsea could see where they were going). nothing for the plebs walking down from the train station, but one measley sign on the opposite side of the bridge. excellent.
we paid our entry fee (a fiver on a weekend just to get in, and outdoor cinema tickets are £15), and headed in. this is where the real disappointment set in. we have been to a number of street feast events around london this summer, namely dalston yard, feast and southbank kerb, and... this was pathetic in comparison. at a glance there were a handful of street food stalls, one open bar, and not a lot of visitors. behind us there seemed to be an undercover champagne bar that wasn't open (it was almost 3pm at this stage), and another branded bar at the back that was also closed. it was just as well the only bar that was open was selling cocktails, because that's all we were after after that journey in.
there's always an expectation that you'll over pay for your drinks at events like this, but for £10 per drink, i do kind of expect a really well-made cocktail. these ones were pre-mixed and added to as needed. my spring punch was bloody delicious though, i can't deny that. the service was all over the place. we were short changed, they made the wrong drinks (for us and others, as i stood and waited for my change), and there were no more than a hundred people at the whole event, so there was no expectation for them to rush their orders out.
starving, we moved around the grounds into the smallish dining area. there, we discovered another few stalls, and checked out the menus to see what we fancied. we decided we liked the sound of the pork belly skewers on offer at the kitchenette, so we started there. served with pickled pear (kimchi-esque) and a delicious spicy sauce, they were bloody yum!
another round of cocktails in (in a coconut though), we kicked the eating up a notch and headed to le bun for some burgery goodness. bex opted for the pulled duck while i threw caution to the wind and went for the braised beef short rib burger. both burgers came with slaw, bacon salt and truffle mayo fries, and seriously, that burger and those fries were the best things i've eaten in so long. the guys who ran the stall were so friendly and chatty, the whole experience with them (and alcohol, cos, come on) coupled with being sat in the grounds of one of london's most iconic landmarks, well... things were looking up.
all in all, we were in the grounds for less than two hours. we kept ourselves occupied with fancy cocktails and perfect photo opportunities and lp's polaroid camera. it certainly wasn't my favourite event of the summer, and to be honest, i probably wouldn't recommend going if you haven'e yet and had planned to. possibly it was a lot quieter than usual on sunday because notting hill carnival and sw4 were both on, and it was a bank holiday weekend, but... unless you live on that side of town, it's a mission to get to, and the entry fee covers... what exactly? there were no samples, nothing happening in the grounds to justify the charge.
i'm being tight, yeah. but, that's in my nature and i will always question uneccessary charges. we had a great time because we were together and we made our own fun. i'd quite like my fiver back.
have you been to the power of summer event this year?
tell me your thoughts.