The food fairy landed in SW4 and granted our collective wishes for something new and current in Clapham by delivering us ‘The Dairy Bar & Bistro’; a modern, eclectic and relaxed restaurant, located a stones throw away from Clapham Common tube and over looking the common.
I am a south London lass, born and bred. My work and the lifestyle that I choose sees me travelling all four corners of London constantly – creating events, scouring for unusual venues, searching for new creative culinary talents and experiences, (which I enjoy immensely). That being said, there is something joyous too in finding a gem that is in your ‘hood, no schlepping about for hours on public transport to satisfy ones rumbling belly’s ever demanding appetite. There are lots of reasons to go to The Dairy – From mid week, mid morning coffee, to the dinner with your buddies on the weekend, this little bistro appears to have it all; artisan coffee, brunch, cocktails, wines, dinner menu – no need to travel to Soho or further afield to find a box ticker. Now I don’t want to give too much praise too quickly, I have only been once, but once was enough to make me want more – surely a great starting place for a new restaurant, to have people rebooking for next time on the way out the door.
The Dairy displays relaxed styling, large front windows, contrasted with dark rich tonal woods for the tables and tops, there is the on trend chalk cocktail list above the bar, semi open kitchen counter, more informal setting of tables and stools at the front of the venue and a more traditional restaurant set up at the back, with a compact bar in the middle, breaking up the space. There are the ‘de la jour’ props of milk bottles and vintage jars on shelves.
The food is served on beautifully presented plates bursting with colour and freshness. The finer details of infused butters, amouse bouche and petit fours, show an ambitious establishment. I saw hints of The Clove Club in Shoreditch, Trinity it’s neighbour on The Triangle and central London’s Pulpo mixed in to the design, service style and overall offerings. All restaurants on my ‘would recommend’ list.
Heading up the kitchen is Robin Gill, you can practically taste his previous experience on your fork, he has an impressive CV of past work: Head Chef at Almeida (popular Islington eatery), Head Chef at Restaurant Sauterelle (all day dining experience at The Royal Exchange), and Noma (voted World’s best restaurant 2012, 2011 and 2010). This is a new generation restaurant in Clapham, offering great food, a relaxed environment, friendly service and a conscious and ethical products. We might have seen places like this popping up over certain areas of London in the last few years, but now we finally have one in Clapham too!
With dishes from £2 to £12 on the menu – there is no excuse not to have a real good sample of the kitchen’s skills. There is something for everyone, choose from sections Garden, Sea and Land on the menu – the menu changes at will so these are just some example of past dishes.
We were explained the menu, recommended that we choose 2-3 plates each. We certainly thought 2 pp. would have been plenty for us, for a light lunch – possibly 3 for dinner or larger desires.
Example dishes: Warm baked potato salad, sorrel and smoked Comte £6, Black Radish, pink lady apple, fresh curd and hemp seeds £5.5, Roast Cornish Pollock, cauliflower, brown butter, wild cabbage £8, Miso BBQ lamb, wild garlic, purple aubergine, olive £7.5, Lincolnshire rhubarb, oat caramel, marshmallow and jelly £5 Pistachio and rapeseed cake, ricotta and sambuca ice cream £5.
The menu changes with season, along with regularly changing specials – so lots of reasons to go back and keep trying new dishes, they also mentioned they have an urban garden (we’d love a look at!).
The drinks menu includes; quality ALLPRESS coffee, beers and spirits from niche brewers and importers. With a healthy wine list with wines produced using sustainable, biodynamic and organic techniques. There are also cocktails for those pre/ post dinner cravings for something a little harder – The Dairy is open till 2am on Friday and Saturday.
There is a lot of thought and attention to what has made it on their menus. They have sourced the best possible produce, from plate to glass there is an ethic, it’s well communicated and from me, certainly appreciated. We enjoyed a dining experience from the amouse bouche, to the handpicked vintage and 2nd hand table accoutrements. The perfect antithesis to trash food and quick-eats (which still hold a place in my heart – but there is a time and place for everything).
Entertaining: As far as we are aware they is nothing like this in the area and we have looked. If you have friends, family and/ or clients that would prefer south of the river and the occasion calls for relaxed informal dining with food that will get you talking, then this might be just down your food alley.
We had a very enjoyable lunch, with a glass of wine or two for approx. £27 pp.
MON: 8am – 12pm/ TUE: 8am – 11pm/ WED: 8am – 11pm/ THU: 8am – 12pm/ FRI: 8am – 2am/ SAT: 9am – 2am/ SUN: 11am – 4pm
THE DAIRY/ 5 THE PAVEMENT, CLAPHAM OLD TOWN, LONDON SW4 0HY/ Tel: 0207 622 4165