Off the beaten track of Clapham high street situated smack right in-between Clapham Common and Clapham South tubes lies The Rookery. My worry is that blink and you will miss it, which would be a great shame as it is home to some of the tastiest and affordable home cooking in south west London!
The restaurant is back from the road with a canopied outdoor area, overlooking, albeit across the busy A24, Clapham Common. Once inside you are greeted with a warm glow, as the dark wooden room is filled with candles and has a vintage feel with mismatch wooden tables and chairs, blackboards and a great bar stretched along the whole of the right a hand side.
The Rookery acts as a both a restaurant and a bar, so you can relax and catch up with friends over their fantastic range of ales and lagers both on tap and bottled, there’s a well-stocked back bar of spirits for their classic cocktail menu and half a dozen or so wines by the glass. We went with the Malbec, which was delicious.
The menu is not extensive but what they do offer is good, simple and seasonal food. To start we had the Hampshire pork croquettes with aioli, and to balance we had the vegetarian option of beetroot, crumbly goats cheese and salad, both of high quality and just the right portion size. For the main course we went with the special of the day, which was a sharing dish for two of lamb hot pot served with seasonal vegetables. Just what was needed in this cold weather!
If you are not the sharing type, then the Rookery has a great selection of winter warmers such as slow-cooked Hampshire pork shoulder, grilled Lleyn lamb leg steak, for the vegetarian option there is Blue d’Auvergne macaroni cheese and pearl couscous and slow roast autumn vegetables. For family Sunday lunches they can cater for large groups and offer a smaller Sunday menu.
To finish the meal off, the Rookery has a small section of puddings including apple and sultana crumble and chocolate tart, but being the cheese lover I am we went for the cheese board. With a delicious espresso to polish it all off.
The Rookery is perfect for winter as the dark wooden bar and lack of natural light makes it perfect for that cosy, winter feel but as we move into spring it will be interesting to see how it works.
Next time you whiz down the A24 keep your eyes peeled and ensure you stop by, it is well worth a visit!
69, Clapham Common South Side, London, SW4 9DA
Written by Sarah Hardy