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The Plough (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of The Plough in Clapham, London

89 St John's Hill, Clapham, London, SW12 1SY
Cuisine: American
Tel: 020 7585 1844 | Email to The Plough | Transport: Clapham Junction | Write review

The Plough Review

Best for: people of London who are well into their 30s and have plenty of disposable income.

Great: variety in decor; for finding pretty ladies; for plates made for sharing.

Sagacious is the Londoner who has breached the threshold. 29 years, 11 months, and 18 days is wet behind the ears. Whereas 30 years, and 17 hours is ruler of its own destiny. From Bash Street Kid to Master of the Universe in a fortnight. It’s official: life begins at 30. You’re wiser, wealthier, and you don’t, like, use the words like like so often, or display a phrasal inflection that ends every sentence as a question?

This theory was proved recently when a 29yr old female (my guest) and a man so comfortably into his 30s he has no qualms about wearing slippers (yours truly) visited the new Young’s pub-bar-restaurant, The Plough, in Clapham Junction.

The fact that we exited the UK’s busiest station via the new gateway was the first ‘grown up’ clue. In doing so we eschewed the temptations of Revolution, Slug & Lettuce, and the Clapham Grand.

So we approach. I, the senior, remark on how it’s refreshing to see a large retail unit below new build apartments that’s NOT commandeered by Tesco. She, the younger, tags The Plough “too new looking” and, from the exterior, “reminiscent of a bar in Croydon”. Croydon; that’s where people in their 20s go for a night out/punch-up, right?

Inside, there’s a TV in the corner, and it’s thankfully switched off. Yes, definite 30s territory. Refinement is rife and the disparate decor styles are lost on the yoof, but well regarded by us elders. Central cushioned banquettes provoke large gatherings, whilst around the edges, small romantic tables have unimpeded views of the the Strath Terrace traffic light intersection.

She, and her juvenile derrière, require a cushioned seat. I, in my inured, stoic maturity, opt for a hard, map-covered chair, joking that my arse is “all over the neighbourhood”. She doesn’t get the joke, if it is one, so I diffuse the situation by making an observation about the Aztec shelf pattern towards the bar and its similarity to the Bob Monkhouse Celebrity Squares TV show of yore. She looks at me as if to say “woteva!”

She then bellows something about the volume of the bar being too loud. “What’s that?” I reply, “I cant hear you.”

Music policy: The Power of Love by Huey Lewis & the News. This is clearly my childhood, not hers.

Being a 30s-body, I’ve previously had the pleasure of the sharing delights at Soho’s New York style diner, Spuntino, and immediately pick up on the enjoyably subtle parallels at The Plough: in the Mac & cheese; in the pulled pork slider; in the shoestring fries; in the flashes of faux elegance mixed with industrialisation. No surface is left unexposed, un-reclaimed, or un-sanded.

She, being a 20s-lark, doesn’t like to share so much - that’s what old folk do - and so ignores the obvious small plates on the menu - the black pudding scotch egg, the West Country salt beef, the crab salad - in favour of what is eventually deemed a “very average burger” and “undercooked fries.”

I, on the other hand, choose a sharing plate - the rib-eye steak, medium rare - and share it with my own smugness. Vine-ripe tomatoes, fat cut chips served on a weighty chopping board with a murderer’s knife. Sauces (such as béarnaise) are deemed unnecessary, and not offered. I’m not too bothered.

We corner the crux of the matter whilst sampling a half pint of local Meantime lager: sophistication is an esoteric facet exhibited by those of a certain age (no prizes for guessing what that age is), who sip local Meantime lager from wine glasses, or quaff Champagne and wear necklaces, like the celebrants at the adjacent table. They’ve chosen to share the ultimate main: a chicken with a can of Budweiser stuffed up its nethers. The Beastie Boys would have been proud. She’s never heard of the Beastie Boys.

She says “Maybe that’s what you do when you’re 30 and sophisticated: snack American style tapas, drink Champagne, and wear necklaces?”

“And in your 20s you merely sit in old men pubs drinking beer, eating pies and peas.” I’m only half joking.

She, in her naive innocence, hastily wolfs down a London banger mini dog with shallots and stale bread, keen to burn her inexperienced tongue on scalding hot starters (did they cook it en route from the kitchen? Good work!).

I, the wiser, take my time, chewing that particular starter without harm, giving me ample opportunity to mention how it could be a tad more inventive, how I much prefer the popcorn shrimp starter with the spicy sauce, and how there seems to be an inordinate amount of fantastic looking ladies at The Plough. She moans that they’re aren’t many attractive men.

Music policy update: Dub Be Good To Me by Beats International. This is music for the 30something.

I make a suggestion that there seems to be an interesting disparity on the wine list discriminating against red wine drinkers: the whites are much cheaper.

I fail to make a connection and she makes a comment of her own, about the one lone lady holding her own on the dancefloor.

“Holding her own what?” I jest.


By 10.30pm someone is being twirled - Beyonce is to blame - and some very apparent bopping has broken out. It cant be classified as dancing just yet, but there is definitely movement. Gyrating and jiggling may also be occurring.

As we leave - one of us satisfied, the other slightly unsure - Salt-N-Pepa’s most famous track is creating a stir on the dancefloor.

“This is definitely not, like, Croydon.” I reflect.

“Don’t Push It,” she counters, smiling.

Maybe she’s 30-minded after all. Let’s give it a fortnight. more

Customer Reviews for The Plough

Average (based on 3 votes): 3 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of The Plough.

“As sbove”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Diana Barber, Battersea (5 years 25 days ago)

“Best bit was the celery stick. Go figure!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
slim, london (6 years 5 months 15 days ago)

“I like what Young's have done here. It doesn't feel like a Young's bar/restaurant. It feels very new, but in a retro-industrial way. A good mix of styles to keep the middle class SW-ers happy. A great addition to the area. It needed a bit of life. Now it has loads. I recommend going for sharing, small plate options. And try to get a cosy seat because it can get quite loud in there.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
The Restaurant Hunter, London (9 years 6 months ago)

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Head chef Josh Garner leads his brigade from the open plan kitchen located in full view of diners. The
varied menu features New York-style tasting plates, ideal for a light lunch or for sharing with a group of
friends, as well as more substantial mains and daily-changing blackboard specials.

Updated 08/11/2011


The drinks’ offering complements the food menu and reflects The Plough’s Anglo American vibe. The
choice is vast with a large list of rums, tequila, bourbons and whiskies sitting alongside a 25-strong
wine list most of which are available by the glass.

Updated 08/11/2011

The Plough Opening Hours

Monday: 10:00am - 11:00pm Friday: Closed
Tuesday: 10:00am - 11:00pm Saturday: 10:00am - 11:00pm
Wednesday: 10:00am - 11:00pm Sunday: 12:00pm - 11:00pm
Thursday: 10:00am - 11:00pm    

Additional Information

  • Cuisine Type: American
  • Group: Youngs

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Venue ID: 22815

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