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This totally on-trend tapas bar comes from chef-of-the-moment Robin Gill, who has transformed the old deli attached to his big-hitting Dairy into a 15-seat temple to inventive cooking, with just one chef behind the counter and one person out front. Counter Culture takes bookings, it’s BYO and it’s great value too. Standouts from the eight-dish menu are many and varied: earthy salsify ketchup, scooped up on a Quaver-like curl of pork crackling; a jumble of beef tartare, caviar and radishes, all gleefully rubbed around the plate to mop up bone-marrow salad cream; charred mackerel with spiced cabbage and capers. Virtually nothing goes to waste and nearly everything is made on site using labour-intensive methods – check out the curing room and smokehouse, shelves of fermenting bottles and beehives on the roof. The restaurant’s website calls Counter Culture ‘The Dairy’s naughty little brother’; we’d add that it’s also very nice.
I hate admitting it, but a raving review can influence my decision to move the restaurant to the top of my “must visit” spots list. The Dairy in Clapham had been on my list for a long time and for one reason or another I had to cancel bookings there multiple times. But when I read the fantastic review of their sister restaurant, Counter Culture, in Time Out last week, and managed to get three out of their 14 seats for dinner with my friend Guy who was visiting from LA, I couldn’t believe our luck.
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