Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Rookery, Clapham Common, 17/20*

Location: A road away from the Common, opposite The Windmill

Visit: Several times both afternoon and evening

To Note? If going on a Sunday book ahead, their roasts are very popular...oh and you'll not want to go anywhere else

Ambience 4/5
Design 4/5
Drinks 4/5
Staff 5/5
Extra LBS star: Yes, because these guys have brought a much needed touch of class to the C.South to C.Common stretch

I like The Rookery. I liked it when their family and friends launch night turned into a welcoming come-one-come-all affair. I liked it as I sat on their large decked outdoor space with a Gin & Tonic on a sunny Sunday afternoon and watched the sun go down over the common. I liked it when I went back recently for a quiet Tuesday night dinner.

We chose a table directly in front of the fire as the limited indoor space left only a table by the kitchen or a table rather too close to our neighbours for comfort. Their comfort that is with the evening being somewhat of a celebration.

Starting drinks were a clementine and clove prosecco cocktail and a ginger beer. The ginger beer was Fentiman’s so ticked the boxes although this somewhat strange cocktail was not as Christmas-y as it sounded. They have a short yet complete wine list but do look to try some of their small craft beers. Starters (at around £4 to £7) were eschewed for freshly baked bread and salted butter. At £1.50 it was generous and delicious. And thank goodness we opted to go straight for the main course! The confit duck leg came from one hell of a size bird and sat on perfectly cooked red cabbage and crispy potatoes. Manfully as I struggled I had to leave some of that crisply delicious dish on my plate by the end. The other half tackled a hanger steak and chips with supreme watercress sauce with gusto yet he too admitted defeat some time later. With both of these around the £14 we felt like we got more than value for money. A few more drinks were ordered but unfortunately we could not even contemplate dessert; I think it’s clear that the food was a resounding success though.

The (realistic) gas fire helped create a cosy atmosphere with chunky slightly rickety wooden tables and chairs lining the back half of the space and high stools around the bar and front for those just passing through. The rest of the bar is simple, with a New York loft feel and a spiral staircase leading to downstairs toilets and -----. Menus are a combination of daily changing print outs and regular cocktails and specials chalked up to tempt you as you relax. The staff are exceedingly friendly, accommodating yet far from intrusive and the jazzy background music adds a nice buzz.

Clapham is definitely in luck with this little gem – previously an average Thai pub set up called Firefly – and as much as I want to shout about it I rather think I may keep this little gem to myself a while longer. Their unobtrusive attentiveness to detail has given us great food, seriously well priced cocktails and a comfortable get away from the louder Clapham thoroughfare it sits beside. None of this is surprising considering the big names that are behind this (a few Michelin stars for the chef alone) and I am just grateful they chose to be a 10 minute walk from my house!

Many thanks to Ben Carpenter for the photos!
Square Meal

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