Bringing the gritty Lower East Side speakeasy to Clapham Common, the Rookery might seem desperately trendy, but behind its ceramic tiles, suspended light bulbs & exposed cabling lurks definite substance. Artisan draught & bottled beers put on a good show, & they are ably supported by a short, engaging wine list that’s very easy on the pocket. The chef may have cut his teeth in the rarefied world of Hibiscus & Pied à Terre, but the food suggests Simon Hopkinson’s back-to-basics style, voguish unloved cuts & all. Sublimely fresh Cornish coley with cauliflower purée & roasted onion is typical of the approach, likewise tender grilled ox tongue with sauce ravigote, juicy rare onglet on roasted beetroots, or a gooey chocolate pudding with espresso ice cream. Sourcing is beyond reproach, prices rarely pass £25 for three courses, & deliberately dishevelled staff operate with surprising efficiency.
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