I don’t think I need to say again that one reason why I love being a blogger is all the wonderful friends that I’ve made. One of whom is Lauren, a fantastic friend who I don’t go a day without speaking to over some form of media! With our other halves busy at the weekend, Lauren suggested I pop down to her neck of the woods to check out The Dairy, a restaurant that’s lingered on my ‘to visit’ list for a while.
I actually hadn’t been to Clapham in years, so I’d forgotten the friendly village style feel of Clapham Old Town and I soon located The Dairy. Found on The Pavement, it’s nestled between other casual restaurants and bars with some inviting al fresco tables as well as a cosy interior. Bare wood tables, a buzzy bar and jam jars of flowers on the table, it is both intimate and totally unpretentious.
With a carefully curated menu of small plates, it’s not hard to actually order pretty much everything on the menu between you, as we did. With choices being broken into snacks, garden, sea and land, we were able to try something from every section! Starting with a complimentary bag of homemade bread and the famous bone marrow butter.
The chef at The Dairy is Robin Gill, a Dublin born man who moved to London to follow gain experience in the Michelin starred dining scene. The Oak Room by Marco Pierre White, a three Michelin star restaurant was where he trained in classic cooking. Receiving further training at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Robin Gill was also very much influenced from his time on sabbatical in Scandinavia. Meeting the team at world-renowned restaurant Noma, in Copenhagen he learnt other ideas for his food and service and at The Dairy blends Scandi-inspired flavours with British ingredients. Many of which come from his rooftop garden!
Our lunch started off very well with truffle Baron Bigod on fig and walnut toast with rooftop honey. It was Lauren’s suggestion and I wasn’t sure as I’m not such a fan of sweet dishes, but having had it before she was confident I would like it. Honestly I’ve said it before but you really can’t go wrong with melted cheese on bread and the Baron Bigod was a fabulously creamy brie sourced from Jonny and Dulcie Crickmore at Fen Farm in Bungay, Suffolk. Robin Gill actually has four bee hives on the roof too so the honey is made in house!
From the garden section Igor’s pumpkin with almond milk, Burr and cobnut is a lovely a light dish. I’m not sure that I’ve had Burr before but its a goat’s milk cheese with slightly spicy flavour.
Mussels done well are always going to please me! And I loved these fresh Brixham shellfish served with a side of corn and bread miso – the miso adds a salty tang to the bread.
Another small fish dish – but that’s definitely worth ordering. I’m a big fan of eel and this was beautifully smoked in Applewood. Accompanied by leek and drizzled with squid ink vinaigrette, the flavours were just lovely.
Our one meat course was Fallow deer with cocoa beans and smoked muscat grape cooked to perfection and a fab twist on a classic combination.
Should we or shouldn’t we? The answer is usually yes in the great dessert debate and we opted for a fluffy light blackberry panna cotta with summer fruit and black pepper sable – a seriously good end to a fantastic meal!
Not quite ready to say goodbye, Lauren and I nipped over the road to Balans for a last glass of bubbles on a beautiful Autumn evening. More plans were made – we’re keen to try The Dairy’s sister restaurant, The Manor just around the corner plus we’re looking into a trip away together at some point!
A big thank you to Lauren for suggesting such a great restaurant for lunch, I’m seriously lucky to have such a lovely lady in my life!!
15 The Pavement
Clapham Old Town
0207 622 4165