You can find Casa Buglione equidistant between new Brixton (like New Labour) and old Clapham. So I am not short on (sometimes) fine dining on my doorstep.
Unfortunately I am also a short walk from lots of not-so-fine-dining where post-pop-up meets street-food-revolution meets transient hipster trending, where making a cocktail in retro crockery and smugly, unnecessarily reinventing something or other, counts as modern dining. Emperor’s New Clothes my friends… if you ever ever find me in Chicken Liquor, bludgeon me to death with an ironic, overpriced chicken wing.
I exclude The Dairy. Nestled in Clapham’s old town promenade. Yes, its exposed brickwork and retro fittings. Yes, its tasting plates, but not for the shirking of good old fashioned organised kitchen pass logistics. Interesting sharing dishes, a genuinely engaged staff and energising creations with a dedicated seasonal British accent.
From the snacky starters, Cornish Crab, crisp potato and sea lettuce is a dinky, delicate white crab meat crisp sandwich, the Dexter beef tartare with fermented onion is rich, deep and rawly pleasurable. Accompanied by freshly baked sourdough bread and an entirely moreish bone marrow butter.
The dishes are divided up by garden, land and sea. From the garden, and the only slight disappointment – Salt baked beetroot, hazelnuts, crab apple and lardo. Redeemed by two fish dishes, sea bass with salsify and sea vegetables, Cod with radish and soft egg yolk.
Land offered us Venison with pear and crisp artichoke along with smoked pork cheek, charred cabbage and pickled onion. In each case, texture, flavour and the main attraction of the plate (or artisan bowl) are synchronised expertly and the fish in particular is faultlessly cooked. I am a traditionalist so to see classic meat and fish given new combos to play with, that work, is a good thing.
Wines don’t make you check your current account, the long skinny room is warm and bubbly and I like leaving a restaurant thinking ‘I am going to try that…. but not sure I have the skills.’ Robin Gill and his team do.
15 The Pavement, SW4 0HY
020 7622 4165