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The Rookery

The Rookery is a small, independently run pub on the Southside of Clapham Common. Boasting a decent size beer garden out the front and a warm, cozy, inviting interior, The Rookery looked like the perfect venue for a rainy Sunday afternoon roast dinner.

We had olives to start, two mains and with a bottle of wine to share, the bill with service came to £61.


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I decided to ordered something hearty and warming as it was a dark and stormy afternoon, which took the form of belly pork with a selection of winter vegetables, gravy and apple sauce.

It didn’t take long to arrive which was good and I was immediately excited when I saw the size of the portion of meat. It was a large chunk of pork by anyone’s standards with clear visible layers of rendered fat running throughout.

My excitement soon turned to disappointment as there was no apple sauce on the plate (we asked for some afterwards) and the crackling was not crispy at all, in fact it was just about inedible, far too thick and chewy.

The gravy and roast potatoes were very good and actually the highlight of the dish but overall too little to make it a success.

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So I am just going to come and say it. This review gets a 2. I was left really unimpressed, which is a shame, because I thought it was going to be epic.

To start with, the service sucked. We had a table of four and it was pretty obvious we were waiting for another person, but somehow we got asked 4 times if we wanted to order before she arrived.

It’s pretty standard for there to be only one vegetarian option when you head out for a Sunday lunch, but I was more than happy with The Rookery’s offering of truffle mac and cheese with Jerusalem artichokes, spinach and mushrooms.

The mac and cheese looked the part when it came out, served in a rustic, cast iron dish with a salad garnish. Artichokes are one of my favourites, so as soon as I was served I started mining. There wasn’t one artichoke in the whole dish. The macaroni didn’t have very much sauce, so it was quite dry. It also needed salt because it lacked flavour.

All in all, really disappointing, especially considering how excited I was before it came out.

Oh, I almost forgot… We had some nocerella olives to start, they were good.

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Olive n’ Meze

 

Olive n’ Meze is a local Mediterranean restaurant that has recently opened up on Clapham High Street. We have walked past a few times and thought we must try it out, so on Sunday night we did just that. During the day it can be quite quiet, but don’t let that put you off, it’s well worth checking out!

Two starters and two mains with a large bottle of sparkling water set us back £32.


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For starters I had stuffed vine leaves with minced lamb, tomatoes and rice. Four of them arrived on our table and looked great,they were soft inside and very well seasoned, it was a shame there wasn’t more of them.

For mains I had falafel, rice and hummus; sounded simple but the presentation was very attractive and the falafel was actually the best I’ve ever tasted. Admittedly I’ve not had much in the way of variety of falafel in the past but these tasted delicious and was complemented by some fine tasting humus and rice. Overall a very nice meal and I would definitely return to try some of their more adventurous meat dishes.

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I was having trouble deciding what to order, as there is a decent amount of vegetarian to choose from!

I ended up having the garlic mushrooms to start. Button mushrooms in a creamy, garlic and white wine sauce, served with toasted Turkish bread, cooked to perfection.

I then had the ​helloumi skewers served with courgettes, peppers and cherry tomato​ for my main. Served with a salad and really tatsy cous cous, the skewers complimented the starter nicely. The haloumi (or helloumi as they have spelled it on the menu) was cooked well and the vegetables were gently charred. Both mains came with a hot chilli and cool creamy Tatziki style sauce which I really enjoyed.

Definitely worth checking out if you are out and about in Clapham. Easily in the top 10 restaurants of the Clapham Common area in my opinion and really reasonably priced. Also, make sure you order starters so you get to try some of the delicious Turkish bread!

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HK Diner

 
Smack bang in the middle of Chinatown, HK Diner is a cheap and (un)cheerful Chinese canteen. With a huge menu to choose from as well as bubbleteas, it was perfect for a quick meal before we hot-footed it off the theatre.

We had one starter, two mains and two sides. With a couple of bottles of beer and service the bill came to £46.

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On the way to show in Leicester Square, Veg and I were looking for place that could serve a quick bite at a reasonable price. Upon walking in we were greeted by our host and shown to our table and were presented with a large menu with lots of tasty sounding options. I decided to go for the classic chicken and sweetcorn soup followed by braised duck with a side of boiled rice.

The soup was very nice, well seasoned and the chicken succulent. For the main course I really didn’t know what to expect as there was very little in the way of a description on the menu. On an oval plate there were chunks of fatty duck accompanied with vegetables and a thick sauce over the top – visually this wasn’t a great looking dish but the flavours were again very good.

Overall the food was good but no different from my local Chinese takeaways, the service was, how would you say..unusual? Put it this way, I felt like I was in a school lunch hall and being circled by the mean headmaster.

So this review is exactly what you would expect from one of the ever hospitable Chinatown canteen restaurants. We got there and before we could even look at the menu they wanted to know what we wanted to order. Meat went to order with the solemn waiter and they didn’t have that dish, everything we ordered was met with confusion and disapproval. You have to laugh…

I stuck with my two Chinese favourites, salt and pepper tofu and stir fried mixed vegetables. Instead I got a plate of pak choi in garlic, which when I questioned it turned out to be seasonal vegetables. There was no offer to change to what I had actually ordered.

The salt and pepper tofu however, was awesome. It’s always hit and miss with what you will be served up when it comes to this dish. Sometimes you end up with what resembles overcooked squares of sponge, other times it’s so loaded with batter you may as well have sipped on a bottle of oil. This tofu was lightly battered, cooked to perfection and seasoned with the perfect amount of fried garlic, chilli, salt and pepper.

Not an establishment you go to make friends, but definitely worth checking out if you are a salt and pepper tofu fan!

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Pizza Pilgrims


 
Simple. Traditional. Napoli Street Food. Pizza Pilgrims have been classed with the elite in London when it comes to pizza. So we had to check it out!

We ate in their pop up at Swingers Crazy Golf in Shoreditch – Two pizzas came to £18.

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I ordered one of their simple pizza’s which included cheese, tomato sauce and spicy sausage as toppings. It took around 5 minutes to be cooked, we were instructed to collect our pizza’s from the cooking station.

They were served on a piece of paper which did give it a definite street food vibe and they looked and smelt delicious.

The pizza was very hot and we both had to wait a few minutes to let them cool down, the base was thin and crispy around the edges which is just how I like it. The spicy sausage was VERY spicy, almost too spicy but in fact it just had the right balance to make the pizza very flavorsome.

The set up at Swingers involves your pizza being cooked in a wood fire oven the back of a van which is quite cool. Super speedy service meant we had our pizzas, served on brown paper bags, in under 5 mins.

Piping hot and smothered in cheese, just the way I like a margarita! The sauce was tasty, I just wish I has a bit more of it. The sour dough base was just the right combination of chewy and crisp and the pizza was finished off with a few basil leaves.

Perfect combination with a couple of beers before we played a round of the world’s most competitive crazy golf!