Clapham – best place to dine out in London?! (updated)

Let’s face it Clappers, we’ve always been spoilt for choice in the culinary department. However, Clapham seems to have gone into overdrive in 2014 with the introduction of tonnes of cutting edge, contemporary places to eat.

Love Clapham loves a good nosh with a slosh of bubbles and here’s our pick of the best in a rough order.IMG_2645

a) New Clapham restaurants we’ve been to and recommend

  1. Zumbura – fresh, zingy tastes with commendable friendly outstanding service.
  2. The Dairy – this new entry to the Clapham food scene has exceptional food and a lovely environment. When we went, we had the taster menu and it was exceptional. At the higher end of the cost scale but worth every penny.
  3. Ferm’s £5 pizza – best pizza in town and only a fiver. We love it for its relaxed easy going atmosphere. Hopefully it won’t get the awful queue that its breakfast guise (Breads Etcetera) gets, because we never go for brekkie there because of that.
  4. WC – knowledgeable staff with excellent wine and delicious charcuterie. Very stylish and cool location too. Highly recommended.
  5. Chicago Rib Shack - pricier than you’d probably expect from a rib shack (it really could do with about £2 slashed from everything). However, the ribs are simply incredible. And the service is fun and friendly, much better than other service at other rib shacks who shall remain nameless. We love this place… although the bouncer feels a little unnecessary, this is gentrified Clapham afterall ;)
  6. Brickwood Coffee – for a coffee shop it is a bit pricey, the reason for that though is the excellent quality of the coffee AND the amazing toasted ciabattas that they sell, super tasty.
  7. Abbeville Kitchen – extremely good if also extremely expensive traditional fare done very, very well. You won’t feel short changed.
  8. No. 32 Old Town – this place was packed from the offset and the two times we’ve been in we’ve had an outstanding meal. However the service has always been a little bit frantic and odd. We’re putting this down to “finding their feet” for the time being though.
  9. Byron Burger – you know what they sell, it’s just good they now sell it in Clapham!
  10. Mama Lan – teeny tiny with an even smaller menu but it’s deelish! Our one massive gripe is that they still don’t take cards almost a year on… We’ve stopped going because of that because we never have cash on us!
  11. The Dessert Deli – obviously not a cafe but it still sells food! The owner, Laura Amos, makes the best cakes in South London, don’t miss them. Located in Clapham Junction station with a new shop.
  12. Aux Marveilleux de Fred – you can’t sit in this place on Northcote Road either but their cakes are incredible, whatever those little mound things are! :D

b) Oldies and still Goldies – some of these are still trumping the newbies

  1. The Pepper Tree – one of the tastiest, best priced places in Clapham with a stunning location overlooking Clapham Common. Friendlier service than most of the new places. And it’s just had a totally awesome, stylish make over!
  2. Fantasia – in amongst all of the posh overpriced nonsense, Fantasia remains down to earth, affordable and high quality. No restaurant is as rounded and perfectly formed. Of course, we only go for the breakfast / brunch / late lunchy breakfast. We need more casual places like this that don’t break the bank. Also has MUCH better service than most new breakfast places.
  3. Maharani – you’d be mistaken (wrongly mistaken) if you judge this place by its cover. The building may look incredibly dated but the food and service is simply perfect. One of the best indian restaurants we’ve ever been to and it’s right here on our high street. Please do use this place, you won’t regret it.
  4. Trinity – expensive but worth it. If you want to impress or for culinary razzmatazz, go here.
  5. Gastro – informal, not the standard of Trinity or the other more expensive places but the price here reflects that. Probably the most relaxing night out in Claps.
  6. Northcote and Stonhouse – part of the same chain and both equally amazing, if already a victim of their own success by being too popular so hard to get a table at the weekend without booking earlier in the week. The waiting staff always feel rushed off their feet, although friendly. You can’t deny the amazing quality of their food and drinks (especially the steaks!)
  7. Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) - it’s been around for a while and has recently upped its game a bit to compete with the new burger kids on the block. We think this place is giving Byron a run for its money actually, and we’ve been opting to go to this place instead recently because it’s a tad less busy.

Other new places we haven’t been to yet include the soon to open The Manor on Clapham Manor Street. Also, The Craft Beer Co on Clapham Manor Street is supposed to have great burgers – we’ve been for their great ales but not food yet. Olives and Meze looks interesting too.

Have we missed something or do you disagree with us? Please tell us in our new Clapham Eating Out forum.

Own a restaurant that’s not listed here? Please don’t take it personally. We can’t like everything! :) If you’re new, we just haven’t been yet and if you’ve been around for a while, we probably just think the cost or service is a bit skew whiff right now and we intentionally don’t bad press places. Feel free to tell us about your Clapham gaff on the forum and we’ll pop on down for another take ASAP :)

Burgers and American BBQ restaurants in Clapham

Clapham is fast becoming THE place to go for burgers and American-style barbecue restaurants. Clapham High Street alone is home to the ever popular Bodean’s, posh burgers at Haché, the old faithful Gourmet Burger Kitchen, as well as a large new branch of Byron. Other recent newcomers are the lively Honky Tonk bar and diner near Clapham Common and the brand new Chicago Rib Shack which is underneath the arches by Clapham High Street station and is running opening discounts.
 
We popped into Red Dog South recently, which opened opposite Clapham North station a few months ago. It was a warm summer evening when we visited so we sat outside until late at one of the tables out front. We also had a peek at the restaurant area inside which is decked out in wood panelling giving it a bit of a wild west feel in keeping with the American saloon theme.
 
The menu covers everything from ribs and burgers to fried catfish and southern fried chicken. We particularly enjoyed a juicy blue cheese burger and a side of original buffalo wings which were tasty and tangy with just the right amount of spiciness, plus the blue cheese sauce that comes with the wings is not to be missed!
 
If you’re feeling particularly hungry (or competitive) Red Dog has a couple of challenges for you to sink your teeth into! The mighty Devastator burger is made from steak mince, pulled pork, 6 rashers of bacon and 6 slices of cheese (phew!) The challenge is to finish the burger and a milkshake within 10 minutes.
 
And if you can stand the heat there’s the hot wing challenge which allows 10 minutes to eat 6 chicken wings made with red hot naga viper chillies.  On our visit there was a brave contender getting stuck into the hot wing challenge complete with latex gloves to protect from the fiery chillies! Winners receive a t-shirt and a proud place on the restaurant’s ‘wall of flame’ leader board….
 
With a range of newbies opening up alongside the established chains, if it’s ribs, wings, pulled pork and burgers you’re after, then you’re spoilt for choice for places to get your fill in Clapham.
 
Where’s your favourite place for burgers and BBQ? Will a branch of MeatLiquor be next to come to Clapham High Street?! Completed any of the man vs food challenges?
Share your favourites on the community forum >>
Red-dog-south-Clapham-north Red-dog-saloon-sauces 20140724_214956

WC: Wine & Charcuterie – coming to Clapham Common toilet!

Very exciting news arrived this week Clappers. Exciting for two reasons. Number one, the 100 year old toilet – the UK’s most famous toilet – directly next to Clapham Common tube has been converted into a posh wine and charcuterie bar. Who knew! I certainly didn’t spot any works happening, but then it is underground. Now you’ll hear the trickle of wine instead of… No! Stop there.

It seats 40 people downstairs and, amazing news, another 40 people outside on the previously derelict grassy island. This will make such a difference to the area – the developers, local organisations and council should be commended for making this happen.

Number two, and most exciting of all is that they’ve kept ‘some’ original features (hopefully this is one refurb where most ‘features’ don’t still exist). Including some love letters found behind some tiles during the work. They are housed in the new toilets in the bar.

So, a new place for people to meet and have a good time, this time out in the open air. Best of all, it’s totally local and not a big brand chain.

It opens its cubicles from early July.

Summer events on Clapham Common

foodies-festival-image
Ignore the unpredictable weather, Clappers – summer is coming and Clapham Common has some amazing events lined up to keep us entertained over the coming months. We’ve rounded up the best festivals taking place on your doorstep…

 

Sub Audio
Love dance music but your friends are more into indie?  Sub Audio festival may have the perfect solution… The guys from Gigalum bar are hosting Clapham’s first ever silent disco on 24th & 25th May. DJs will be playing music ranging from indie to techno, but you select whatever takes your fancy on your own wireless headphones. With 3 channels to choose from there’ll be no arguments with your mates about whether to head to the acoustic tent or stay raving at the dance stage.

 

Alongside the music there’ll be 8 marquees with fun stuff going on including a powder paint fight, glitter wrestling and a shisha lounge, as well as a range of food stalls. The fun takes place on the common next to Clapham South tube and tickets are available here

 

Food glorious food!
The Foodies Festival returns to Clapham on 6th-8th June. You’ll find plenty of food and drink to sample, with street food stalls serving up dishes from around the world, live music, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and a farmers market to buy your own ingredients. For tickets and to find out more, visit the Foodies Festival website  

 

Calling Festival
Formerly known as Hard Rock Calling, the live music event moves to its new location on Clapham Common this year. Soul legend Stevie Wonder will be headlining on Saturday 28th June with vintage rock stars Aerosmith topping the bill on Sunday 29th June. And if that’s not enough, there’ll be more rock from Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora, laid back guitar tunes from Jack Johnson and hits from quirky pop princess Paloma Faith. Find out more here

 

South West Four 
The annual dance festival kicks off over the August bank holiday weekend. Top dance music DJs from deadmau5 and Above & Beyond to Sasha and Pete Tong will descend on Clapham Common bringing you house, electro, techno and trance beats. Join the SW4 party on 23rd and 24th August.

 

Disney movies showing at Clapham Picturehouse

LionKingCast Great news film fans!  The Vintage Sundays film season has returned to Clapham Picturehouse and this season they’ll be screening classic Disney movies. You can relive your childhood memories and sing along to your favourite songs like When You Wish Upon a Star and Hakuna Matata, or take your little ones to experience the animations on the big screen for the first time. The season runs until 20th April and the cinema will be showing some of Disney’s best loved musicals and fairy tales. Upcoming films are:

30 March – Cinderella
6 April – Pinocchio
13 April – Beauty and the Beast
20 April – The Lion King

Screenings are at 12:00 noon every Sunday and ticket prices are £8.00 for adults and £6.00 for children. Book your tickets here

Free bike checks on Clapham Common

Cycling

Lambeth Council’s Dr Bike clinic returns to Clapham Common on 5th February.

Bring your bike along to get checked out and have simple maintenance work, like brake adjustment or gear tuning, taken care of for free. Cycle mechanics will also be on hand to answer questions and offer advice on keeping your bike on the road during the winter months.

The session on 5th February will run from 4.30-7.00pm on Clapham Common Northside. You’ll find Dr Bike at the junction with Cedars Road, on the near side of the cycle path that crosses the common.

The team will also be running bike clinics in Brixton and Kennington; returning to Clapham Common on 5th March.

Breaking: Live Nation Mega-Concerts Confirmed for Clapham Common

Lambeth Council has confirmed that Live Nation will have 2 – 3 days of mega concerts (27, 28 and 29th June) on Clapham Common this summer. Bringing the likelihood of performances from people like Paul McCartney and Madonna to our leafy streets.

These concerts will also see crowds up to 45,000 strong attend each concert (well, if the concert is good…). Typically, until now Clapham’s concerts have had half that number of people. The press release from Lambeth states that these concerts are for a “more mature” crowd and won’t be dance focused. That made us LOL but make of it what you will.

Up to now, opinion has been divided with members of Love Clapham saying it’s both a good thing, “I for one think this is fantastic news… A festival here or there really brings a fantastic vibe to Clapham.” (Tim) and a bad thing for the community and area “Personally I’m against it. Natural spaces in the centre of town are very rare and should be protected. The common’s already way too manicured – they should let the grass grow – see if they can’t wild-meadow more of it. I hate seeing private commercial projects on the Common.” (Matt).

This follows a round of investigations about noise levels from such a concert and some consultation with local community groups in January. Live Nation will actually occupy the site for over two weeks for setting up and dismantling.

One thing’s for sure, it will get the whole country talking about Clapham for a whole new reason, perhaps even making our Claps a known venue for musical talent. Recently, we’ve already seen the launch of Music Monday’s at the new Clapham Omnibus theatre on Clapham Common. Plus of course, who can forget the local Pop Choir :)

Please do share your thoughts on this in our new thread on the forum – we’d love to hear what you think!

Australia Day in Clapham

Australia Day

Australia Day is on 26th January and whether you’re a proud Aussie or just had enough of dry January, Clapham has a host of places to celebrate. LoveClapham has rounded up some of the area’s top spots…

If you feel like starting early, head down to Inferno’s from 9am-9pm on Sunday 26th  for  “12 hours of power”. The all-day party will feature bush tucker trials, prizes for the best dressed and live music from the Bondi Beach Bums.

Missing a taste of home? Then drop into Bison and Bird on Clapham High Street where Aussie favourites will be on the menu including chicken schnitz, burgers and pies, along with offers on snakebites and Bundy and cokes.

And if one day’s not enough, The Clapham Grand is throwing a 2 day party with screenings of Aussie films The Castle and Priscilla Queen of the Desert. There’ll also be stand up from some of Australia’s top comedians followed by a club night on Saturday night.

Gigalum near Clapham South tube will be stepping things up a notch by hosting a 3 day Australian weekender from Friday to Sunday with Aussie DJs, drinks offers and an all-day barbecue, so there’s no excuse not to join in the fun!

Will you be celebrating Aussie-style somewhere else we haven’t included?  Share it the Clapham community forum