A part of London that was once sneered at by food snobs of The Capital's more Central districts has seen a remarkable turn around, and is fast becoming a place to come for food. Venturing South of The River now has more favorable connotations than 'having to get The Northern Line' or being sucked into Infernos. Not only that but the variety is also something of note, Gastro Pubs have expanded their menus and polished their decor, you can now find a multitude of cuisine at very affordable prices and if you fancy a boogie afterwards.. there's no shortage of options. Clapham... welcome to the party!!
Spoilt for choice No32 offers not only street-side dining but also a first floor terrace where olive trees abound. The wine list will help transport you to warmer climates, chose the Picpoul, my go-to for that South of France feeling or push the boat our and order the Chateau Riotor if you don’t mind sipping rose in your coat. Here, comfort food abounds in inspired dishes like the Chicken and Chorizo Schnitzel or the Taleggio and Avocado on Sourdough and it’s rude not to try something from the excellent pudding menu.
If you were to hand out awards for the most unique locations, Wine & Charcuterie takes all the plaudits, but don't be thrown by the name - there's plenty more on offer. You can also tuck in to some classic small dishes and bar snacks as the Pork Pies, Scotch Eggs, Salads, oysters and much more. For the signature experience, we recommend taking on the Cheese Board (Brie de Meaux, cow, France; Cantal, cow, France; Drunken Burt, Cow, Cheshire; Golden Cross, goat, Sussex; Fourme d’Ambert, cow, France), and the Charcuterie (Coppa, Hungarian paprika & chili, WC Ham hock teriine, Wild Boar Salam, Bresaola, Smoked duck breast) - for £15 each - while making your way through the impressive wine list. There's live music, and the late weekend opening hours mean you can make a full night of it.
Now this is what we're talking about!!! Meat meat meat meat.. and cheesecake! Chicago Rib Shack, Clapham's front-runner in the American Style BBQ cuisine battle, is a Mecca for meat-lovers. Ribs (beef, back and belly... boom!!), Burgers, chicken wings, mac & cheese, manslaw (like coleslaw but... MAN!), pulled pork sandwiches, poy-boy sandwiches.... I mean.. I'm told there are even vegetarian dishes (i was far too busy nursing my meat-coma to notice). Chicago Rib Shack is just a meat-lover's Shangri-La. Open from breakfast until late throughout the week (including brunch) Chicago Rib Shack is virtually always there when you need to take on some serious grub.
The Rookery brings all the flavour of a Manhattan bar to Clapham Common with its brick walls, casual decor, mixed clientele and a varied menu at extremely reasonable prices. It’s a fuss-free restaurant where locals can go to enjoy a back-to-basics menu with a cocktail and wine list to match as well as a wide range of international bottled beers – any London neighbourhood would be proud to have a place like this. The pleasingly uncomplicated menu boasts dishes such as pheasant, partridge, prune and tarragon pie with a suet crust and Blue d’Auvergne macaroni cheese. Prices rarely go above £30 for three courses and the service is charming and professional.
These guys are committed to the cause of excellent produce with a focus on the best (and most sustainable) suppliers. The Dairy staff keep a bee colony on the roof and they’ve just opened a deli next door too where everything is cured, baked, smoked, pickled or bottled on site. Drop in for the 7 course tasting menu, a veritable bargain at £45 a head or order the seasons best from the Garden, Sea or Land menus.
Surf N Turf done well - Fish in a Tie have been delivering quality fish and meaty treats for two decades. The cosy restaurant boasts a buzzing atmosphere on weekends and with their set roasts costing under £10, Fish in a Tie is responsible for some of the best value meals in Clapham. Despite, as the name suggests, the menu taking more of a seafood bias, there are some great dishes for meat eaters (Gypsy Lamb, Chicken Milanese and Pork Escalope) and vegetarians (Vegetarian parcel - spinach, mushroom, ricotta wrapped in filo pastry).
For those that live in Clapham, The Breakfast Club on Battersea Rise has been option 1 for weekend brunches and a good old debrief of last nights antics (and regrets). To make things fair, you have to queue, but its worth the wait. The menu is packed with (as the name suggests) hearty breakfast dishes (pancakes, all the eggs, full English, Breakfast Burritos, and burgers). For the night owls, The Breakfast Club continues in their tradition of delivering fantastic cocktails in their adjoining cocktail bar - The King of Ladies Man.
For the South Londoners that have been and loved the Shoreditch sister site of Red Dog Saloon, news of their Clapham saved a cross-Town schlep and simultaneously provided them with one of London's most epic meat eateries, right on their doorstep. Expect monster portions, ribs, wings, burgers.. and virtually anything else you could possible want in a bun or soaked in BBQ sauce.
Zumbura brings authentic northern Indian cuisines to Clapham Old Town, in a pure and traditional way. The nature of the restaurant centres on tradition and the joy of sharing Indian cuisine in a customary manner. Through their selection of sharing dishes this philosophy is flattered with fresh and healthy ingredients and recipes handed down from generations of Indian kitchens. The contemporary setting gives a cool contrast to the authentic cuisine of the Purab region of north India, great for groups or a more intimate dinner.
Though this list contains a couple of hidden gems, and lesser known eateries, Trinity remains Clapham's premier choice for something a little special. Whether it's a date, anniversary, dining with the rents, or impressing a client, Trinity is the stand-out in Clapham. Despite this, however, it still has a personal neighbourhood feel, and works just as well as a casual eating spot. Get your diaries out and save those pennies though - being Clapham's best does mean pre-booking is encouraged and it's by no means Clapham's cheapest. Fine dining in Clapham, who would have thought? (no offense).
At first glance (well, from across the street), Mongolian Grill doesn't look like anything more than a decades old gastro-pub, but what's on offer is what makes Mongolian Grill stand out. There's a bountiful buffet, Chinese hot pot, and Korean Barbecue (traditionally served raw(ish) and cooked at an on-table grill). As with many neighbourhood Chinese restaurants, the prices are very reasonable and the service is fast and friendly. The perfect spot for a casual 'grown-up' evening that doesn't rely on getting smashed while spending a King's ransom on 'OK' wine.
A neighbourhood gastro-pub with classic and hearty comfort food done well. Open for dinner every evening as well as lunch on the weekend with a traditional British roast on Sundays (Best Sunday Roast, South London - TimeOut 2014).Though the menu regularly changes, you won't be disappointed any time you head down. Open for dinner in the week and for lunch on weekends, Bobbin is the perfect, tranquil post-work meal with a no-thrills and very accessible weekend offering.
Another one that tops virtually all 'Best in Clapham' lists, Bistro Union is another nod to classic British cuisine executed exceptionally well. Here, you'll find everything you'd expect and want from a modern Bistro. The 'Union' in the name does throw some people as it's reminiscent of the Union Group of restaurant and bars that act as the party spot for much of South London (Brixton Union, Grand Union etc) but the sister site to Bistro Union is another that makes this list - Trinity (regarded by many as Clapham's best). They certainly know what they're doing.
There are plenty on the list that either fish as a main focus or deliver a great seafood offering but Kerbisher & Malt is the front-runner for good old fish n chips. There are sites in Brook Green, East Sheen, Clapham and a new spot in Clerkenwell. Where ever they appear, they take the crown for best fish and chips in the area. And has even received a nod from food emperor, Heston Blumenthal "K&M takes the very essence of fish and chips and make it so much better" If it's good enough for him, what are you waiting for?
The team behind Clapham's successful 'The Dairy' double their real estate with The Manor, an equally delightful modern bistro. The food is imaginative and playful without compromising on culinary expertise while the shabby chic, cosy interior is equally versatile. Be it a romantic dinner date, a catch up with pals or lunch with the parents, all boxes have been ticked. With a decidedly British theme, The Manor captures one’s sense of nostalgia and with a hint of magic, they have created a dessert bar that taps into the childish delights we all secretly dream of. Ice cream Sundaes are created from liquid nitrogen in front of your eyes and topped with an array of treats from the sweet filled treasure pots. The Manor doesn’t take itself too seriously and it’s refreshing to see that their fun loving approach is matched by the quality of the dishes on offer.