Clapham – Insights from a Foodie

I love living between Brixton and Clapham.

Personally I prefer Clapham during the day and Brixton at night! It is just fact that when the sun is out, Brixton lacks outdoor seating whereas Clapham benefits from many places around the Common that get their chairs and tables out so that the punters can soak up some of that lovely London sun with a glass of wine or a pint in their hands.

Clapham is truly thriving these days and has done so for some time. Testament to that are lots of new restaurants and bar concepts popping up on the High Street and side alleys.

In Clapham you find many young professionals that live in the area and work in the City. As a result, rents are much higher than in Brixton for example. Houses around the Old Town are very pretty, well maintained and if you head towards Clapham Junction along the Common you will pass some pretty grand-looking manor houses. Clapham is also not short on options when it comes to its out-and-proud gay scene with KazBar, Two Brewers and The Bridge attracting the crowds from across London.

But not only that – Clapham has seen many new (good, bad and mediocre) restaurants, bars and cafes opening over the past few years. I decided to write this blog post to share with you some insight into what is going on in Clapham’s food scene and turns out there are some key players that continue to transform Clapham into a true foodie heaven.

Burgers, Ribs and American-style Diners 

Clapham shows no shortage of burger places, diners and rib shacks – that one is for sure. You name it – Honest Burger, the Chicago Rib Shack, the Red Dog Saloon, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Byron Burger, Honky Tonk all within a stone throw of each other. There is something for every taste and budget – an Honest Burger made from Ginger Pig’s Dry Aged Beef with Rosemary fries sets you back a tenner while some Jacobs Ladder cut ribs cost you £18 at the Chicago Rib Shak and £22 at Bodeans. Not sure how many more of those Clapham needs but seems like they are doing well…

For the more refined palet and adventurous foodie scene, I can recommend some of the following (and my own favourite) brunch and dinner spots in Clapham.

For the more refined palet…  

Among all those small and medium sized burger and rib chains, Clapham has seen a number of independent restaurants, bars and cafes openings in recent years. You can find anything from home-cured and smoked meats, freshly baked sourdough breads, ingredients grown and foraged locally and beers brewed on site. Just the thought of it makes me hungry.

I am very passionate about new food concepts that immerse themselves in their local environments, that don’t try too hard to re-invent the wheel but do what they do well and take pride in every single aspect of their business.

A good example for that is Trinity, located in Clapham Old Town. Trinity was one of the first high-quality restaurants to open in the area. Trinity started out back in 2006, with a self-set mission to serve seasonal, inspirational and, above all, delicious food. No wonder the privately-owned restaurant has got 3 AA Rosettes. In 2012, the owner Adam Byatt – chef, restaurateur and food writer wantedsomething a bit more informal. He opened a second site on Abberville Road called Bistro Union – a British neighbourhood bistro where all things quintessentially British take the lead. At least 10% of the restaurant’s fruit and vegetables from those grown by schoolchildren at a local allotment, which is just a little fact of the day for you 🙂

Bistro Union © M Franke_MG_0079Trinity_Chocolate_Cremosa_009 (2) Trinity_Inside_2_002 (2)

Bistro Union © M Franke_MG_0211




















A few years later, Trinity got some new neighbours. In 2013, restaurateur and consultant Jayke Mangion and local entrepreneur Stefan Boehm opened up Brickwood Coffee & Bread bringing a much needed breath of fresh air for Clapham Common’s brunch scene. They recently opened a new branch in Balham and finally got a proper new website too! I can really recommend their brunches and the staff is very friendly too. Allow for some time though if you come on a Saturday morning around 11am – this place gets pretty busy.

Picture by Noemi Dulischewski

brickwood coffee

Picture by Noemi Dulischewski









Soon after, in July 2014, Jayke teamed up with Andrew Bell to embark on a little mission to transform the 100-year old former Edwardian public lavatory, located underneath Clapham Common tube station into a bar/restaurant. The result of a lot of hard work and endless discussions with the Council meant that the decayed site was turned into a lovely Wine & Charcuterie Bar, called ‘WC’ (very clever!!).  I love it here – the two guys managed to maintain most of the original features of the former closet and they even discovered old love letters in the toilet walls from the 1940s and 50s as well as old Playboy posters of girls in bikinis riding motorbikes. You can still get a glimpse of those when you visit the men’s loos (yes, I had a look..)

Picture by

Picture from

Picture by

Picture from

Picture by

















One of Clapham’s biggest new launches of 2013 included the opening of The Dairy on the Pavement by chef Robin Gill and Sarah Gill. The Dairy offers small plates from a seasonal Modern English/European menu amid vintage chic of a bar/bistro. Some of their ingredients are even grown on site in their own ‘kitchen garden’ on The Dairy’s roof.

by The Dairy

by The Dairy

by The Dairy

by The Dairy











Their success lead to the opening of their second outlet around the corner from the Dairy. The Manor opened at the end of 2014 and as the signage leaves no room for surprise – it is “a modern bistro”.  Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons and Noma are the big influences on chef Robin Gill and his chefs. On the menu super seasonal home-grown produce and hip Nordic techniques.

And if that was not enough for the team behind The Dairy and The Manor. Robin, Sarah Gill and partner Matt Wells launched an artisanal delicatessen shop ‘The Delicatessen’ next to their bistro (formerly a phone shop) not too long ago. They’ve also taken on an old storage shed below the rooftop garden and turned it into a full production kitchen where they bake and smoke creating everything from scratch for the shop.

Future openings in Clapham include ‘Mommi Bar & Grilli’ – a Peruvian/Japanese restaurant on the Highstreet (former Belgo site). The 85-seater restaurant is from the team behind Camden’s KOKO, who already run Bison & Bird in Clapham. They’re going to be putting on a mixture of raw and robata grill dishes alongside a comprehensive drinks menu and dannce floor. Opening on 1 July 2015.

I am especially excited about the opening of Cellar SW4 by Greg who owns DVine Wines on Landor Road. I have been buying my wines for my own events and for personal consumption and I encourage you to stop by when you are in the area. Their opening is imminent. Located opposite of Clapham High Street Overground Station between The Railway Pub and Tsunami.

Jimmy’s Pop Up has also chosen Clapham for one of his new sites. Look for the wooden door on Clapham Park Road, reach past the vines, and make your way through an urban jungle to get to his Secret Garden bar and restaurant. You got time to visit until the 31st of August. I advise to make a reservation if you are planning to come at the weekend.

I hope you enjoy your own little discovery tour around Clapham soon after reading this.

What are your hot spots in Clapham?



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