Clapham – best place to dine out in London?!

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. 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.
  3. WC – knowledgeable staff with excellent wine and delicious charcuterie. Very stylish and cool location too. Highly recommended.
  4. 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 ;)
  5. 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.
  6. Abbeville Kitchen – extremely good if also extremely expensive traditional fare done very, very well. You won’t feel short changed.
  7. 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.
  8. Byron Burger – you know what they sell, it’s just good they now sell it in Clapham!
  9. 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!
  10. 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.
  11. 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 Dairy but keep meaning to as we’ve heard such great things (and its soon to open sister restaurant 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 :)

Mama Lan by Clapham Common

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Hot tip Clappers: Mama Lan is a new Beijing street food micro restaurant which sprang out of the super cool Brixton Village. You heard it here first, Clapham is as cool as Brixton. Official.

Mama Lan is unique and deeeelish. I’ve been twice in one week opting for the tofu strip noodles and one of the teas. We also tried some of the sides, which were gorgeous – especially the pork buns. The best bit is that it isn’t too expensive and portions are big, so you get value for money. Actually, that isn’t the best bit, the best bit is that they serve tea in pots. Love Clapham is a fan of loose tea in pots.

The decor is cool and the atmosphere chilled. It is small though, with only a handful of tables, so choose your times wisely. It’s by Waitrose ;)

9/10

The Breakfast Club on Battersea Rise

It was with great excitement that The Breakfast Club opened on Battersea Rise, Clapham Common west side. Anyone who’s visited the Hoxton or Soho branches will know to expect – as the name makes obvious – all variety of breakfasts. The quantity is vast, from the selection to the size of portions.

Unfortunately, quantity is definitely the name of the game here. Quality is lacking. If you’re after large platefuls of stodge, this is your best bet. It’s not awful but the quality of breakfasts and brunch on offer in ClaHa and surrounding areas far exceeds The Breakfast Club right now. A simple black coffee was noticeably ‘not great’. Sausages and bacon underdone (ie cooked but not crispy).

I’d recommend alternatives like Brew, Rapscallion, Fantasia, Abbeville Kitchen, Gastro, Breads Etcetera to name a few. They’re cheaper and higher quality.

Having been to The Breakfast Club in Clapham twice now, I can’t say I’ll go back anytime soon. Hopefully it’s just teething problems and concentrating on quality rather than quantity will help this new branch live up to its name.

5/10

Edit: sorry, we’d said originally Breakfast Club was on Lavender Hill when of course it’s on Battersea Rise. Doh!

Northcote Road Market

Globe Northcote Road market, Clapham Junction

Northcote Road market is the prime example of why the Clapham lifestyle is one of the best in London. Where else can you find super-sexy people, buy a globe, a second hand wet suit and a decent lunch? It’s a bizarre bubble of a place born out of its disproportionately young residents with disproportionately high levels of disposable income. They expect quaint and quality in uber fashionable portions. The result is a fabulous and unique market with trinkets, produce and market stall owners you’d expect to find in Harrods. This is a high class market at surprisingly reasonable prices.  Continue reading

Perfect Blend cafe, Clapham, London

[field name=street-view]Perfect Blend cafe is a relatively new addition to Clapham and is tucked away between Clapham High Street and Abbeville Road. Don’t let its location stop you from going, it has great decor, a good selection of food and chilled out atmosphere that set it apart from the busier parts of Clapham.
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Bon Bon restaurant, Abbeville Road, Clapham, London

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Bon Bon is a good sized restaurant on a corner in the heart of the Abbeville Village. It serves fresh food and drink throughout the week and has a small seating area out the front for use on those sunny summer days. Continue reading

Boiled Egg & Soliders, Northcote Road, Clapham Junction, London

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The Boiled Egg & Soliders, as the name would suggest, specialises in delicious breakfasts. With a good range of different meals and its handy location on Northcote Road makes it the perfect pit stop when you’re peckish on a weekend morning. Continue reading

Breads Etcetera restaurant, Clapham High Street, London

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Breads Etcetera restaurant made breakfasts in Clapham super fashionable. Breads Etcetera bakes its own range of delicious bread that it serves in ready supply to anyone who eats there. With toasters on the tables, it’s a quirky venue with fantastic food, but go early, you can’t book and the queue always spills out on to the street. Continue reading