The Rookery – Clapham
Once upon a time I used to live in Clapham in ‘Abbeville Village’. It’s an area of London I really loved, but for work reasons left. At that time the Rookery didn’t exist – I would have noticed because it’s almost opposite the Windmill pub – one of those pubs you’d be bound to know if you’ve ever lived in the area. And I am sure among local residents, The Rookery Clapham South Side has become a firm favourite too.
So a return to my old stomping ground for the evening was very welcome.
The Rookery is a cosy restaurant serving an interesting mixture of standard bar food and rather more adventurous options. I enjoyed a marmalade prosecco cocktail while I waited for my companion. As much a choice made out of intrigue it turned out to be rather good. And those large green Queen olives are delicious!
In fact, a good evening was had by both of us. I started with a white onion and bayonne ham soup – the ultimate bad boy soup, rich and creamy and topped with crispy morsels of sweet bayonne ham and croutons. Somehow I don’t think that one would make it onto my 5:2 diet soup list. And nor would I be ordering the vegetarian option – the ham was far too good a pairing. My dining companion seemed to enjoy his poached egg on smoked mackerel hash with horseradish beurre blanc, which had a perfectly cooked egg topping a crispy base. My dislike of egg meantI didn’t actually taste it though!
Now, my main course was a 28 day matured longhorn Sirloin steak, fries and bearnaise. Relatively straightforward food, this was nice but not spectacular and actually rather hard to eat until my companion had helped me with the mountains of fries! Not that either of us were complaining about that. The bearnaise was notable – warm, home made and full of fresh tarragon
My companion’s fish stew was perhaps the better choice – a hearty looking dish of mussels and a range of British fish (salmon, code and smoked haddock, served in a parsley and garlic base. My friend described it as ‘an English Boullabaisse’ and he managed to tuck away the entire bowlful (and half my fries!).
For dessert I chose the Cambridge burnt cream, which was actually considerably lighter than I’d anticipated and topped with a drizzle of dark treacle caramel. Very pleasant!
The Valrhona chocolate mousse that my companion enjoyed was pronounced the best he’d ever tried. No mean feat – it’s always good when a ‘standard’ dessert is produced with excellence
The Rookery is a friendly local restaurant that is well above average. Prices are very reasonable and service is friendly. Starters are priced at around £6 with main courses mostly around £14-£16. There are a lot of good restaurants in London that are closer to home for me and this one wouldn’t quite tempt me back to South London unless I was there for other reasons…although if I lived in the area I’d no doubt take up residence at the Rookery, Clapham because it has all those elements of warmth, comfort and friendly service that make for a great local restaurant. And, on the basis of the steak, I’d recommend going for the slightly less predictable menu choices as we fared better when the kitchen were being challenged to be a little more creative. But overall a good night;)