Nowadays, however, Clapham is decidedly chi-chi. Most evidently on
Northcote Road in Clapham Junction, with it's mix of independent and upmarket chain restaurants, pubs and bars, plus, of course, the Northcote Road market stalls.
Whether it's a hipster breakfast, Sunday lunch with craft beer, or a night quaffing designer cocktails, Northcote Road delivers the goods. As a former resident of the area, I thought I'd share what are, in my opinion, five of the best restaurants along Clapham's popular village street:
No pun intended, but Numero Uno Italian has to be the number one restaurant choice along Northcote Road. With chains and upwardly mobile eateries spreading across South West London, it maintains a wonderful olde world charm.
It's that rare thing: a really great, local Italian, with authentic, quality food and simple, classic décor. And the service; oh, the service. The staff are from a bygone age – Italian gents who take their work seriously. Equally welcoming to middle-aged businessmen and younger families (children are indulged in the Mediterranean way), clientele are mainly work lunches and well-heeled families. It's a great place in Clapham to go on a date too.
One of the larger restaurants in the posh burger restaurant chain, Byron is packed during the week with yummy mummies and small children in peaked caps. In the evening, professional twenty-somethings join the well-to-do families.
The menu is simple but hits the spot. Salads are available, as are American sides, but they all play second string to the burgers, which Byron do really well. Quality Scotch beef is simply seasoned and offered in a variety of incarnations, from the ‘Classic' to the ‘HOT-A-DOODLE-DOO!'
For drinks – there's craft beer, wine, bourbon and even some fizz. Mums tip: trick the kids into eating some vegetables with the delicious courgette fries.
Franco Manca's winning formula of quality, tasty sourdough pizza at palatable prices means the Northcote Road branch is as buzzy as the other five. Despite stonking reviews – Sloaney pony mag Tatler even urges its readers to venture out of Chelsea to find it – it's still kept it's relaxed vibe and remains a great place to just grab a pizza with a bunch of mates.
The Draft House
The clue is in the name for this gastropub-cum-bar. The Draft House is all about beer. With additional options of one third and half pints to help you explore the many different ales and lagers on tap, Draft House attracts a down-to-earth, grown-up local crowd and is a great place to escape from the frat boys clogging up Clapham High Street on a Saturday night. The food is good too, and the retro clad dining area is a chilled place to enjoy some quality pub grub.
For Claphamites lucky enough to live within sauntering distance, the
Antipodean eatery Brew is THE brunch spot of choice. With bistro chairs out front, cosy throws and patio heaters to defy the British weather, this tiny restaurant spills out onto the Northcote Road.
Breakfast is what Brew is famed for and at weekends you'll probably have to queue. With concoctions like ‘treacle cured bacon sandwich served on toasted pide with tomato jam, aioli, baby gem and vine tomatoes', this is not a place for salt-of-the-earth types. But if fancy yourself a foodie, you'll love it.
They're also open until 11pm every night, serving similarly trendy mains as well as beer and some surprising cocktails (check out the ‘hairy canary' – yellow tomato juice with freshly grated English horseradish and vodka).
Also worth mentioning is The Bolingbroke pub; a classy local with a warm welcome. There are plenty more great restaurants in the Clapham area to choose from.
There are more restaurants along Northcote Road, obviously, Let us know if we've missed your favourite by leaving a comment below.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Ewan-M (Share Alike).
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